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Egypt confiscates newspapers in censorship attempt

The action came days after the Egyptian president claimed the government did not promote censorship.

By
Ed Adamczyk
The Egyptian government seized copies of a Cairo newspaper in a censorship attempt (CC/ Zolakoma)
The Egyptian government seized copies of a Cairo newspaper in a censorship attempt (CC/ Zolakoma)

CAIRO, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The Egyptian government confiscated all copies of a major Cairo newspaper to censor an article.

The independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm published a serialized interview with former Egyptian intelligence officer Refaat Jibril, who said in Wednesday's installment Egypt traded Israeli spies back to Israel, instead of executing them. Records indicate Egypt executed defendants convicted of spying for Israel as late as the 1980s, and the revelations may have compromised the Egyptian intelligence agencies' image of hardliners.

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The confiscation of the newspapers came days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the American television interviewer Charlie Rose that Egyptian censorship is a thing of the past, saying, "There is no limitation and this is final. Anybody can be criticized in the media, from the president to any state institution. We are very keen on ensuring that."

Al-Masry Al-Youm is typically supportive of Sisi's administration, and its management had no explanation for the sudden act of censorship.

"They just said, 'Remove this article,'" editor Ahmed Ragab, said. "The regime tries to protect its story about history, and we journalists try to search out new facts. It is the normal fight."

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The newspaper published its Wednesday edition with the article omitted, although it could be found on a website of world news stories.

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