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Newspaper editors apologize to actors for homosexuality scandal.

CAIRO: Al-Balagh Al-Gadid editors Abdou El-Maghraby and Ehab El-Agamy apologized to actor Nour El-Sherif for defaming him in a report about an alleged homosexual prostitution ring.

Maghraby, the paper's editor-in-chief, apologized on Egyptian talk show "90 minutes" to El-Sherif, Khaled Aboul Naga and Hamdy El-Wazeer, who the paper claimed were involved in the ring.

"I made a technical mistake by publishing this news without fact-checking. I'm a victim of manipulation from my source, it wasn't my fault, I call for punishing the security sources who leaked this news," he said.

Mortada Mansour, El-Sherif's lawyer, said he is willing to negotiate a reconciliation but under certain conditions including an official apology from El-Maghraby, a confession that he published false news and holding a press conference at the Journalists' Syndicate to issue the apology.

He added that he, along with syndicate head Makram Mohamed Ahmed and actor Ashraf Zaki, head of the Egyptian Actors' Union, will urge El-Sherif to drop the case, now that El-Maghraby apologized.

On his part, El-Agamy said, "I didn't put the newspaper in trouble, I'm the editor of the crime section and all these years I was never sued. I was as surprised as the actors that their names were mentioned, I didn't put the names or pictures, I only wrote a brief article. I never mentioned Nour El-Sherif."

Earlier this year, the Sayeda Zeinab Misdemeanors Court sentenced El-Maghraby and El-Agamy to one year in prison and a LE 40,000 fine for libel and defamation.

El-Agamy had called on El-Sherif to waive the lawsuit so as not to ruin his career and affect his family.

"I trust the fairness of Egypt's judiciary and that it will bring me my rightsC*I'm with the freedom of expression not the freedom of defamation, we are in a community that has its traditions and morals, a community that has its own formationC*there is a difference between freedom and negligence and lack of discipline," El-Wazeer said on "90 Minutes."

Al-Balagh Al-Gadid was banned in October 2009 for claiming that the police had uncovered a homosexual prostitution network during a raid of a five-star hotel in Cairo, adding that the actors bribed the police officers and hotel management to hush up the incident. The actors denied the claim and filed lawsuits against El-Maghraby and El-Agamy.

The court ruled that the journalists pay a fine of LE 40,000 to each of the three actors, as well as to the hotel. In addition, the court referred El-Sherif's LE 10 million compensation claims to a specialized civil court.

Daily NewsEgypt 2009

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Publication:Daily News Egypt (Egypt)
Date:Feb 10, 2010
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