The latest in a series of damaging leaks appears to reveal Egyptian coup leader General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi criticising former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who he accuses of being “an extremist Muslim Brotherhood” member. Aboul Fotouh is an ex-member of the Muslim Brotherhood who ran for the presidency in Egypt last year. He established the Strong Egypt Party after losing to President Mohammed Morsi in the poll.
The brief leaked recording reveals Al-Sisi talking to someone who the Rassd media network claims is the editor of Al Masry Al Youm newspaper, Yasser Rizk, who had interviewed Al-Sisi at that time. The newspaper published the interview in three parts. According to Rassd, Al-Sisi and Rizk seemed to have been discussing the yet to be fought presidential elections, the candidates and their chances of winning.
“Someone like Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh,” asks Al-Sisi, “what will he do to us if he wins?” The man believed to be Yasser Rizk replied: “Abdel Moneim will hang us like carcasses; he is Brotherhood.” Al-Sisi steps in with, “No; he is extremist Brotherhood.”
Rizk goes on to say: “I told Mr Heikal [the well-known journalist and writer Mohamed Hassanein Heikal] a year and a half ago after his meeting with Abul-Fotouh, when he thought that Aboul Fotouh seemed like an independent candidate, I told him: look Mr Heikal, if someone joined a homosexual club then left over disagreements with its members, does this mean that he is no longer homosexual? No, with all due respect. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh believes that he deserves to be the Muslim Brotherhood General Guide more than Mohammad Badei [the current Guide] and he is more worthy than Khairat Shater to be the Deputy Leader. He believes he is the most capable of preserving the Brotherhood ideology. I believe Aboul Fotouh is the worst we can get. The most serious issue is that the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafists and some people could remain gullible. Yet he is very easy to be completely destroyed.”
At this point Al-Sisi replies: “I want to tell you something. The real problem is when people who do not understand Egypt’s role and weight rule.”
Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency has been trying to verify the recording’s accuracy, without success at the time of writing. Neither the Egyptian authorities nor Mr Aboul Fotouh were available to comment on the content of the recording. However, a spokesman for the Strong Egypt Party told Anadolu that they were “surprised by the level of discussion” and intend “to take legal action against the editor in chief of Al Masry Al Youm newspaper.”
Rizk has denied the veracity of an earlier leaked recording which Rassd had claimed was part of the same interview. The network replied by saying its journalists have the full recording and it will be published later.