Cairo: Egypt’s prosecutors Thursday referred Essam Al Erian, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, to court on charges of defaming a TV talk show host, reported the state Middle East News Agency.
Jihan Mansour, an anchorwoman on the privately owned Dream TV, accused Al Erian, who is also an aide to the Egypt President Mohammad Mursi, of claiming in a telephone interview that she had received money from anti-Brotherhood factions to assail the group, added the agency.
Al Erian will be tried before a misdemeanor court, reported the agency, which gave no date for the trial. During investigations, Al Erian, an ex-MP, denied the accusation and instead accused Mansour of insulting him at a recent press conference.
Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud, a lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood, criticised the decision to put Al Erian on trial. “It is a swift and unjustified decision, especially as investigations into the complaint filed by Dr Al Erian against Jihan Mansour are under way,” Abdel Maqsud said. “The prosecution should have waited until all related investigations are complete.”
Critics of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which the president hails, have accused it of being intolerant of the opposition. Earlier this month, opponents and supporters of the group clashed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in the worst violence since Mursi took office in late June