FJP website holds opposition responsible for journalist death

The official English-language website of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Wednesday blamed the National Salvation Front opposition coalition for the death of journalist Al-Husseini Abu Deif, who was fatally injured during last week’s clashes outside the presidential palace.

Abu Deif, who died on Wednesday, was shot in the head with birdshot on 5 December during fighting between opposition protesters and supporters of President Mohamed Morsy.

The headline of the FJP story read: “Egypt ‘Journalists for Reform’ holds National Salvation Front responsible for Abu Deif murder.”

The National Salvation Front is an alliance of opposition groups led by led by reform activist Mohamed ElBaradei.

“Al-Husseini Abu Deif was shot dead by paid anti-Morsy thugs as he stood among pro-Morsy demonstrators performing his duty as a journalist,” the FJP website said. “His death is the fault of the so-called National Salvation Front that aided and abetted violence outside the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace.”

Although the story was published on the front page of the party’s English-language website, it did not appear in the Arabic version.

“The Egyptian Journalists for Reform (JFR) movement expressed deep grief and sorrow over the death of their colleague Al-Husseini Abu Deif, a press community martyr who passed away after succumbing to wounds he received in the unfortunate events outside the presidential palace. The JFR demands just retribution for the blood of their colleague," the website said.

“The JFR also demands that the Public Prosecution and Interior Ministry expose the criminals who assassinated Abu Deif and 10 Muslim Brotherhood youths outside the presidential palace, and bring them to justice without delay," the report added.

The story concluded that, “The JFR holds the National Salvation Front responsible for the political crisis in Egypt today, especially the murder of unarmed citizens from the press community, the Muslim Brotherhood and the group’s supporters, after the front formed a dubious alliance with the defunct National Democratic Party’s former officials.”  

In response, activist Mona Seif posted on Facebook compiled screenshots of Abu Deif’s tweets before he headed to the clashes. 

In one of his tweets, Abu Deif wrote, “To each revolutionary defending the truth, if you find a Muslim Brother raising a knife or a gun in your face, telling you that you are an apostate, respond by saying 'God is great and the revolution is bigger than your gang.'”

Seif wrote, “This is what they fail to tell you: 1) Journalists for Reform is an entity of Brotherhood journalists; 2) Al-Husseini was there as a journalist and a revolutionary, rebelling against Brotherhood politics and Morsy’s decisions; 3) The clashes started when the Brotherhood mobilized their people to violently disperse the peaceful sit-in by the presidential palace; 4) The Journalists Syndicate filed an official complaint against Brotherhood members by name — Mohamed al-Beltagy, Essam al-Erian, and others — accusing them of incitement leading to the murder of Abu Deif; 5) We have a testimony from his friend who was with him in the clashes clearly stating that the shot came from Morsy’s supporters.”

Seif clarified that her post is not in defense of the NSF, most of whose decisions she disagrees with.

The international press has been condemned by the Egyptian opposition for siding with the Brothers’ narrative of the clashes, which has prompted several responses

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