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Egypt: Mubarak's lawyer threatens legal action against newspaper - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, seated, and his two sons, Gamal Mubarak, left, and Alaa Mubarak, right, attend a hearing in a courtroom at the Police Academy, Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammed Al-Law)

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, seated, and his two sons, Gamal Mubarak, left, and Alaa Mubarak, right, attend a hearing in a courtroom at the Police Academy in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday, September 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammed Al-Law)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—A storm has erupted in Egypt following the publication of the transcript of a secret recording of a conversation between former President Hosni Mubarak and a doctor treating him at Turrah Prison in Cairo. The transcript was published by Al-Yawm Al-Saba’a newspaper, which also included a link to an online copy of the recording.

Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid Al-Dib, has expressed his dismay at the publication of the transcript and the recording. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that he intended to sue the newspaper, accusing it of crossing professional boundaries by publishing a private conversation between Mubarak and his doctor.

Dib added that the recording took place without Mubarak’s knowledge and that he was going to take legal action against the newspaper and its editor if they did not stop the “dangerous transgression.”

Al-Yawm Al-Saba’a aired the recording on Sunday after publishing the transcript in its print edition. Mubarak talked about the situation in Egypt in a private conversation recorded by a doctor and a prison guard during his detention at Turrah Prison.

The conversation included questions and comments from the doctor and the guard, who seemed to attempt to encourage Mubarak to talk about the political and security situation in the country. The conversations were recorded during the months of June and July this year.

Dib said the recording was carried out by a doctor treating Mubarak’s hearing while he was in Turrah Prison, saying he needed to check Mubarak’s responses to determine the accuracy of his hearing over a number of sessions. Mubarak’s legal team has accused the newspaper of “bribing” the doctor to obtain the recordings.

The former president’s lawyer said recording a conversation in secret was a crime punishable by 12 months in prison, especially as prison rules dictate that no audio or video recording equipment or mobile phones are allowed. He added that “airing these recordings—even if it was not in public—was also a crime punishable by three years in prison.”

Dib said: “If the editor did not stop the broadcast in person, I will report him to the prosecutor-general, because this action is a violation in which a doctor cheated a patient he was treating.”

He added that what was published had many discrepancies from the actual recording, including, for example, when the website quoted Mubarak as saying: “I thought [Gen. Abdel-Fattah] El-Sisi was a Brotherhood [member] . . . but he turned out to be smart,” while the actual wording showed that it was the doctor who had said “people thought Sisi was a Brotherhood [member],” and Mubarak replied, “He is a smart guy.”

Dib ridiculed this point, saying, “Could it be possible at all that Mubarak would appoint Sisi as military intelligence director without knowing if he was a Brotherhood member?”

The recording also included comments by Mubarak saying that the United States had been working on his removal from power since 2005. He was also quoted as saying Egypt’s borders were a red line that nobody could tamper with, and that it was possible to have another president from the armed forces, but that he needed to be firm. He also reportedly said the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sami Annan, was “not able to rule the country.”