Egypt has requested TV network CBS not to air an interview with Abdel Fattah e-Sisi in which the President of Egypt denies holding any political prisoners and admits that cooperation with Israel has never been stronger.
“The 60 Minutes team was contacted by the Egyptian ambassador shortly after and told the interview could not be aired,” said a representative of CBS.
But instead of bowing to Egypt’s demand, CBS decided to go ahead and titled the interview “The interview Egypt’s government doesn’t want on TV” and confirmed that it would be aired on Sunday at 7pm EST in the popular 60 Minutes show.
In that interview, when asked by CBS’s Scott Pelley, Sisi denied having political prisoners and “prisoners of opinion” in prison, despite reports by international rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch that as many as 60,000 political activists are behind bars in Egypt. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Egypt ranks 161st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
“There are no political prisoners in Egypt,” said President Sisi in the CBS interview
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) 3 January 2019
Furthermore, Sisi confirmed that Egypt had been collaborating with Israel in the Sinai Peninsula against armed fighters.
“That is correct,” said Sisi. “We have a wide range of cooperation with the Israelis.”
Sisi came to power following a military coup in 2013 that defeated former President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader.