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Ex-Sisi supporter summoned by Egyptian intelligence agency

Image of Egyptian soldiers [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Egyptian security forces, 1 June 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

A well-known columnist in Egypt has been summoned to appear before intelligence agents for questioning after her apparent turnaround in her one-time support for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Ghada Sherif rose to fame in 2013 when she wrote an article expressing avid support for the coup leader under the title, "Just wink, Sisi". She has revealed that met with officers at the General Intelligence Directorate recently over her change from being an avid supporter to an opponent of the current regime.

Image of Ghada Sherif, a well-known columnist in Egypt

Egyptian newspaper Al-Dostour, which is known for its ties to the country's powerful security apparatus, ran a report recently describing Sherif as a "mercenary writer" who was seeking gains and privileges out of her support for the "June 30 Revolution". When she failed to achieve any such gain, it is alleged, she changed her stance and became an opponent.

The protests which started on 30 June 2013 preceded the military coup that ousted President Mohamed Morsi only one year into his term of office. At the time, Sisi was Defence Minister under Morsi and led the coup against the President.

Ghada Sherif is the daughter of former Local Development Minister Mahmoud Sherif. She responded to the article in Al-Dostour by publishing on her Facebook page a leaked video of the newspaper's editor Mohamed El-Baz, showing him insulting journalists and writers upon whom, he claimed, "the regime relies". Sherif mocked Baz and sought to refute his criticism, saying that there is no "scandal" in her becoming an opponent rather than a supporter of the authorities. Al-Dostour's article that criticised the columnist referred to her change as a "scandal".

Read: Grave concerns about Egypt's assault on free speech

After being offered a presenter's role on Al-Hayat TV by the head of the Falkon Media Group, Sherif said on Facebook that she received a call from the General Intelligence Directorate on 11 September "inviting" her to attend a meeting. It was at this meeting, two days later, that she revealed the reasons for her turnaround from being a Sisi fan to an opponent.

"Of course, I didn't say anything except what bothers us all," explained Sherif, "from the River Nile that was lost when Sisi signed the Antibi agreement to schools' tuition fees and the extremely high electricity bill that we all got recently."

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