Egyptian Editor Fired Over Sadat Photo

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(AP) The publisher of a weekly tabloid fired an editor Monday after the paper printed what it claimed was the first ever published picture of the corpse of President Anwar Sadat, journalists at the newspaper said.

The photograph, printed in color on the front page of Al-Maydan, showed the naked torso and head of the man identified as Sadat laid out on a white sheet. A white bandage runs across the body’s chest while most of the exposed abdomen is pockmarked with what appear to be small red holes.

The authentication of the photo could not be independently determined. Al-Maydan did not explain how it managed to get the picture or why it chose to publish it more than 20 years after Sadat’s assassination.

Publisher Mahmoud el-Shenawi fired the tabloid’s editor-in-chief, Saeed Abdel Khaliq, after the speaker of the Shura Council, the Parliament’s upper house, complained about the publication of the photo, according to Essam el-Ghazi, managing editor of Al-Maydan.

The speaker, Mustafa Helmi Murad, who is also head of a government press watchdog, asked that publishing the photo be considered a crime, the Middle East News Agency reported. “If values are absent, the constitution and the law are not, and they will deal with such an aggression against personal lives and all freedoms that are guaranteed by law,” Murad was quoted as saying by the agency.

Abdel Khaliq told The Associated Press he was informed of the publisher’s decision through journalists at the paper. Khaliq, a former co-editor of the Al-Wafd opposition newspaper, said the prosecutor general has started investigating in the case. “I wanted to quit anyway,” he said.

Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by Muslim militants who opposed his peace treaty with Israel. He was gunned down as he presided over a military parade marking what Egypt considered its victory over Israel in the 1973 Middle East war.

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