Egypt's new culture minister accuses rival of defamation

Ahram Online, Sunday 19 May 2013

Newly-appointed culture minister accuses head of Egypt's Arts Academy of defamation after latter alleges illicit liaison between minister and university student

Alaa Abdel-Aziz
Minister of Culture Alaa Abdel-Aziz (Photo: Ahram)

Egyptian Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz has filed a legal complaint with the prosecutor-general against Sameh Mahran, head of Egypt's Academy of the Arts, citing "defamatory" statements by Mahran regarding an alleged sexual relationship between the minister and a university student.

Mahran told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website that he would take evidence of the relationship, which he says he has on a CD, to Egypt's prosecutor-general.

"The minister has the right to file a complaint for alleged defamation, but I will also provide evidence of my accusations," Mahran said.

Mahran said that the CD in question had been with administrative prosecutors since May of last year, although its existence had only been made public recently.

The dispute between Mahran and the newly-appointed culture minister dates back to March 2012, when Abdel-Aziz was an active member of a movement within the academy that had demanded Mahran's dismissal for alleged administrative and financial corruption.

Abdel-Aziz and a handful of other professors were investigated at the time for allegations that they had assaulted Mahran and damaged his car.

Abdel-Aziz's appointment earlier this month was met by protests from Egypt's cultural community, which accused him of collaborating with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to 'Brotherhoodise' state institutions, including the culture ministry.

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