Egyptian international lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr - footage taken from Dailymotion clip
CAIRO – 3 March 2018: BBC Arabic news bulletin presenter Norma El-Haj was left mortified after Egyptian international lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr accused the English channel of spreading 'false news' on alleged enforced disappearance cases in Egypt.
BBC phoned Abu Bakr to comment on the Egyptian Top Prosecutor Nabil Ahmed Sadeq’s decision to remand in custody for 15 days pending investigation Mona Mahmoud Ahmed, known as the mother of Zubeida, for claiming that her daughter had forcibly disappeared and tortured by the Egyptian security forces.
“I believe this issue has been tackled in a non-professional way by BBC and there is a big difference between blatant interference in judiciary’s work and the nature of discussing cases,” Abu Bakr said, but the BBC presenter interrupted him. El-Haj asked Abu Bakr to focus on the prosecution’s decision regarding the mother of Zubeida.
Abu Bakr replied firmly, "With all due respect, I am the one who sets the outline of [discussion] not you. I work in the media and I will answer your question in a way that suits my personality and cultural background."
The BBC presenter kept interrupting Abu Bakr to prevent him from making his point, claiming that his comment should be limited to the case of the mother of Zubeida. Eventually, the international lawyer said that "the mother of Zubeida and BBC, from my point of view, deserve to be charged in this case." Then the BBC presenter ended the call.
Zubeida Ibrahim, who was mistakenly reported by BBC to be enforced disappeared, was hosted on a talk show aired on ON E last week, exposing the unprofessional reporting and allegations made by the English network on the situation in Egypt.
Ibrahim revealed that she has been married for a year, has a son named Hamza and lives in the Faisal neighborhood. Ibrahim told Adeeb that she has not been talking to her mother for a year; the young woman chose not to reveal the reason behind her disagreement with her mother.
She added that she was jailed once for four months with her mother for joining a pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest. However, she denied being tortured when she was jailed in El Qanater prison.
The young woman said that her mother's false statements to BBC were given because the mother did not know her daughter’s whereabouts. Ibrahim asked her mother to forgive her and to accept to meet her as soon as possible. Ibrahim revealed that she did not know anything about the BBC’s controversial report, as she does not follow the news.
Ibrahim’s husband stated that he married her on March 13, 2017, without her family’s consent. He showed the marriage document, which dates back to March 2017, unlike the BBC allegations. BBC claimed that Ibrahim disappeared on April 8, 2017.
Ibrahim said that she had joined the Muslim Brotherhood’s Al Nahda sit-in back in 2013 for 10 days, along with her mother. During the interview, both women admitted their previous connection with the Muslim Brotherhood – a connection they later chose to abandon.
The Egypt State Information Service (SIS) issued a statement on the appearance of Ibrahim, demanding BBC to “issue an immediate apology in the same manner the BBC documentary report was aired and published for the gross professional error regarding citizen Zubeida, to the extent of absolute falsification and fabrication.”
The SIS also asked the English network to take into consideration the remarks mentioned in the SIS earlier statement and take all necessary professional and administrative measures to correct the errors and violations included in its report.