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ElBaradei says government behind daughter`s swimsuit photos

Last Updated: Sunday, September 5, 2010 - 00:42

Cairo: Mohamed ElBaradei, the former UN nuclear chief turned Egyptian reformer, accused the government of publishing pictures of his daughter in a swimsuit and at events with alcohol in reply to his bid for democracy, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The Nobel Laureate, who returned to Egypt early year to push for reforms, told the independent Al-Dustor daily that the pictures on Facebook, which were also run by some Egyptian newspapers, were the government`s "usual response."

They showed his daughter Laila, an investment lawyer with a practice in London, in a swimsuit and at her wedding, where alcohol was served.

"Such a campaign is the usual and only response of the regime towards whoever demands democracy, which is the only way for freedom and economic reform and social justice," ElBaradei told the newspaper.

The pictures, insinuations of drinking alcohol which is forbidden by Islam and Laila`s marriage to a banker in London with a non-Muslim name could raise eyebrows in increasingly conservative Egypt, where Muslim women largely dress modestly and cannot wed non-Muslim men.

But a senior Muslim Brotherhood official said the influential Islamist opposition movement was not interested in ElBaradei`s personal life.

"We don`t support any personality in particular. We agree on demands for reform and are part of a coalition that has people from different streams, including liberals," said Brotherhood politburo member Essam Erian.

"Of course they will have their own agenda and lives," he said. "Our priority is reform."

ElBaradei could not be reached for comment.

The former head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency galvanised the country`s opposition after he returned to the country in February. His campaign says it has collected tens of thousands of signatures on a petition calling for change.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, September 5, 2010 - 00:42
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