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Egyptian newspaper censored for front-page dedication to blacklisted ex-footballer Open in fullscreen

Martin Armstrong

Egyptian newspaper censored for front-page dedication to blacklisted ex-footballer

Aboutrika one of the most successful African footballers of his generation [Twitter]

Date of publication: 4 March, 2017

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Egypt's government has previously frozen Aboutrika's assets, accusing him of financing the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Masriye planned to print a dedication to the former star on its cover in solidarity

Egyptian authorities on Friday banned the circulation of an edition of an Egyptian weekly newspaper after it was set to distribute an image of polarising ex-football player Mohamed Aboutrika on its cover.

The cover of al-Musriye was set to contain an image of Aboutrika along with his mother superimposed on a black background along with a "zajal" or "ode" in solidarity with the former Egyptian international which included the words "they call you a terrorist".

Egypt's government has previously frozen Aboutrika's assets, accusing him of financing the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo categorised as a "terrorist organisation” in 2013.

The former footballer's father recently died in Egypt.

However, Aboutrika did not return for the funeral for fear of arrest, instead remaining in Qatar where he works as a pundit.  

According to an anti-terror law imposed in 2015 by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, anyone on the country's terror list is subject to a travel ban, with their passport and assets liable to be frozen.

Aboutrika, one of the most successful African footballers of his generation, publicly endorsed the presidential bid of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi in 2012, a move that alienated some fans, and consequently raised the attention of the Sisi government once it took power in a military coup that toppled Morsi in July 2013. 

The circulation of the al-Musriye edition was stopped by an order from the state-owned Al-Ahram press, according to local media.

It has previously been censored on at least two occasions for carrying interviews with a Muslim Brotherhood-linked figure, and a former intelligence agent.

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