Sabahi's campaign complains of defamation attacks

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 May 2014

Campaign for presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi responds to 'low tactics' linking its candidate to the Muslim Brotherhood

Supporters of presidential runner Hamdeen Sabahi (Photo:Ahram)

The official campaign backing presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi has issued a statement expressing its discontent with what it describes as a "vigorous smear campaign" led by opponents against its candidate.

"Sabahi's campaign believes this malicious propaganda began when our candidate's popularity noticeably began to rise on the streets," read the statement, adding that the accusations against Sabahi are all based on false rumours.

The defamation attempts, according to the campaign, include recent statements made by well-known judge Tahani El-Gebali, who accused Sabahi of making a visit to the house of jailed deputy Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater.

The former vice-president of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court also claimed that the Brotherhood's international organisation has decided to throw its weight behind Sabahi.

The campaign vehemently denied the allegations, criticising El-Gebali for spreading information without verification.

Supporters of Sabahi's only rival in the upcoming presidential race, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, have frequently hinted or directly claimed that his campaign was endorsed by loyalists of deposed president Mohamed Morsi or his Brotherhood group.

In an interview on Monday El-Sisi's chief advertising advisor claimed that the outlawed Brotherhood will be campaigning behind Sabahi – a claim strongly denied by Sabahi and his campaign, who are known to be staunch opponents of the Islamist group and were prominent among the groups that mobilised for Morsi's ouster last summer.

The Brotherhood has not announced its support for Sabahi – or any other official after Morsi's removal last July – refusing to acknowledge the interim authorities' legitimacy.

Tuesday's statement also mentioned that opponents of the Nasserist leader have been spreading leaflets which falsely accuse him of receiving funds from the Qatari Red Crescent – a defamation attempt that would seek to link Sabbahi with Qatar, accused by Egypt's interim authorities of providing support to Morsi and the Brotherhood.

For their part, Sabahi's backers have called on anyone with proof of such claims to hand them in to the public prosecution for investigation, adding that they are confident of their candidate's honest history of struggle.

"We had hoped that Sabahi's rivals wouldn't use such low tactics, especially since we were keen on having an honest and credible competition," added the statement.

Egypt’s first presidential elections following Morsi’s ouster will take place on 26-27 May.


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