Head of the Egyptian expatriate community in Rome, Adel Amer, has criticized Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for claiming a 17-year-old Moroccan dancer is related to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The statement, which appeared in several Italian newspapers on Wednesday and Thursday, constitutes the latest in a laundry list of scandals involving the Italian head of state.
Amer vowed to sue Berlusconi on charges of defamation. In the next few days, Amer intends to send a strongly-worded letter of protest to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano over the remarks, he added.
Amer went on to say that, if necessary, members of the Egyptian expatriate community in Rome will stage a protest in front of the Italian presidential palace to demand an official apology to the Egyptian people.
The editor of Vatican magazine Avenire also criticized Berlusconi, calling for his resignation.
The controversy began after Italian authorities arrested the Moroccan dancer, named Karima Keyek, on theft charges. She was accused of stealing €3000 in May. The prime minister reportedly called police to free her. She was then released, according to a statement made by Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni to La Repubblica newspaper.
Berlusconi admitted to have spent a night dancing with Keyek but denies having had any sexual relations with her. Keyek told La Repubblica that Berlusconi did not attempt to lure her to his bed, but that he gave her €7000 at his home near Milan on Valentine’s Day night, after discovering she was a minor.
The Egyptian Embassy in Rome denied any relationship between President Hosni Mubarak and the Moroccan teenager. According to the Kuwaiti Al-Anbaa newspaper, the Egyptian embassy issued a statement saying, “We have no information on the Italian PM’s helping of a minor accused of theft by claiming she is related to the Egyptian President.”
Translated from the Arabic Edition.