CAIRO: The Cairo Appeals Prosecution cleared Saeed Abdel Khalek, chief editor of Al-Wafd newspaper, of accusations brought against him by Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa.
Last week, Gomaa had filed a complaint to the Prosecutor General and the Journalists’ Syndicate against the newspaper for defamation after it claimed that he was engaged in money laundering activities through a private computer company called Tridigital, which the newspaper claimed belongs to Gomaa.
After interrogating Abdel Khalek for a few hours on Tuesday, the prosecutor released him.
Abdel Khalek told the press that the conflict is between Gomaa and the reporter who wrote the article, and that he should not be involved.
He added that his position as chief editor does not oblige him to “oversee all the editorial content that goes to print, but rather to set the main framework and guidelines.
On July 9, the opposition paper had published a front page article in its weekly edition by Adel Sabry titled “The Republic’s Grand Mufti runs an organization that receives millions of dollars in donations from foreign entities.
The article was followed by two other consecutive ones allegedly exposing Gomaa, without mentioning the authority that discovered the money laundering operations. It also failed to mention why there was no action taken against Gomaa since those operations were monitored by authorities.
Chairman of the Journalists’ Syndicate, Makram Mohamed Ahmed, told Daily News Egypt Thursday that he had spoken to Abdel Khalek and Sabry and requested that Al-Wafd issue an official apology to Gomaa.
“If the newspaper does not publish this apology within next week, we [Journalists’ Syndicate] will refer both journalists to the syndicate’s disciplinary committee, Ahmed said.
According to Ahmed, the newspaper failed to provide evidence for the accusations it published against Gomaa, whereas Gomaa provided the syndicate with official documents that clear him of all published allegations against him.