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Egyptian state newspaper Al-Akhbar apologises to Brotherhood leader for 'insulting' headline

Ahram Online , Friday 15 Jan 2016
Mohamed Badie
File Photo: A picture taken on April 20, 2015 shows Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, standing in court during his hearing in the Egyptian capital, Cairo December 22, 2015 (AFP)
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An Egyptian state-owned newspaper apologised for using a derogatory term about the jailed spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, in a story about his health.

Yasser Rizq, the editor-in-chief of state-owned daily Al-Akhbar, wrote in a note published in the newspaper on Thursday that "gloating about a person's illness does not fit either my own morals nor Al-Akhbar's editorial policy, which is widely known for its credibility and impartiality."

An article published in the newspaper last week gave an update about the health of the Brotherhood's supreme guide, using a term that is considered derogatory in Egyptian Arabic to describe his hernia operation.

"Although this headline made some readers happy," Rizq wrote, he had decided to apologise as he found it being interpreted as "insulting."

"I condemned the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and I criticised former president Mohamed Morsi's regime, but at the same time Badie is behind bars and he is helpless," he wrote.

The Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation in 2013; much of its leadership and many of its members were jailed on charges often related to violence or terrorist activity.

In 2015 a number of convictions for terror-related charges against the group's supporters and members were overturned, including several convictions of Badie.

Badie has remained in jail as he is facing an initial death sentence along with five other top Brotherhood figures in the case dubbed "the Wadi Natroun prison break case." The case is currently being appealed. 

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