Egypts president spokesman in relationship scandal with female journalist

Published: Updated:
Egypt’s ruling Islamist administration is again at the center of another moral scandal, after a female journalist who became known for reporting on the presidency claimed she was in a “customary marriage” with the president's spokesman Yasser Ali.

Journalist Abeer Abdelmajid was fired from her job as a reporter covering presidential matters for the daily newspaper “Youm7” after another newspaper, “al-Fagr,” published an article in which Abdelmajid reported to be in a “customary marriage” relationship with President Mohammed Mursi’s spokesman.

Customary marriage means a marriage that is not officially registered with authorities, but one that satisfies the Islamic law’s (Shariah) conditions for marriage. In some cases it also means a “secret non-registered” marriage that does not comply with Shariah requirements.

The story began to make headlines in Egypt after the president’s spokesman sued the newspaper, al-Fagr, accusing it of spreading “lies” and denying any relationship with journalist Abeer.

But Ali’s legal action against the paper was soon followed by Abeer’s counter legal course. She said the paper’s report was true and sought court recognition of her relationship with Ali.

In an interview with an Egyptian private TV channel, Ibrahim Bakri, the lawyer of presidential spokesman, denied the marriage of his client to the journalist, saying her lawsuit “lacked any proof.”

Abdelmajid said Ali used to introduce her to people as his wife and that their marriage was customary, which relies only on witnesses. She said she was surprised to be fired from her job upon the publication of her marriage news in the al-Fagr newspaper.

Samir Sabri, her lawyer, said he had documents, personal photos and even “recordings” of his client with the president’s spokesman.