Egypt's presidential offspring patch up cat fight

A heated brawl between the daughters of two former Egyptian presidents over their fathers' legacy ended with a police raid this week. (The Media Line)

Anwar Sadat (photo credit: AP)
Anwar Sadat
(photo credit: AP)

Egyptian police almost confiscated the assets of a late Egyptian president's daughter on Monday, enforcing a court ruling that she pay a fine to the daughter of another late president over a defamation case.

Hoda Abdel Nasser, daughter of Gamal Abdel Nasser, said the late president Anwar Sadat assassinated her father in 1970 and accused him of being an American agent.

Police stormed Abdel Nasser's Cairo apartment on Monday and threatened to withhold her assets until she paid Ruqaya Sadat, the daughter of the late Anwar Sadat who sued her.

The money was eventually paid and the case settled, but Sadat said it was a moral victory rather than monetary compensation, as she still felt offended by the insults hurled at her late father.

"Hoda is a paranoid person and she made a case that would not stand a minute in any court," Dr. 'Abd Al-Mun'im Sa'id, a former colleague of Hoda Abdel Nasser, told The Media Line.

A testimony to the weakness of her case is the fact that none of her siblings came to her side during the proceedings, he said.

"She worked with me for a while and she always feels that's someone is after her and her father," he said.

The row between the presidential offspring has been going on for nearly four years, amid efforts of third parties to defuse the tensions. Several former officials have tried to intervene, including cabinet ministers who served during Sadat's tenure.

The case began in 2005 when Hoda, a political scientist, claimed that Anwar Sadat, a close confidante of Gamal Abdel Nasser, assassinated her father by poisoning his mango juice.

The comments were published in two magazines - Al-Khamis and the Radio and Television Magazine.

Upon hearing the comments, Ruqaya Sadat took legal action against Hoda, claiming she was defaming her father's reputation.

She said the comments were a crime against her father and all the Egyptian people.

The Cairo court ruled in favor of Sadat three weeks ago and ordered Abdel Nasser to pay 150,000 Egyptian pounds ($27,000) to Sadat.

But Hoda Abdel Nasser refused to pay the fine as required by the court.

When the police arrived on Monday, she did not have the money on her to pay the fine.

She managed to pay up on Tuesday after her lawyer, Sameh Ashour, requested she be given 24 hours to get the money.

Ruqaya's lawyer, Samir Sabri said the fine was eventually paid and the case was closed.

But it appears the payment has not completely obliterated the bad blood between the two women.

Ruqaya said Hoda Abdel Nasser made false accusations without presenting any evidence of her claims. She was also upset that Abdel Nasser never apologized.

"All the millions in the world aren't enough," Sadat said in an interview with Al-Jarida Magazine. "I just wanted moral justice."

Gamal Abdel Nasser became president of Egypt in 1956 and retained the post until his death in 1970. During his tenure he became a symbol of pan-Arabism and was known for his tough line against Israel.

Abdel Nasser and Sadat were both members of the Free Officers Movement, which initiated the July 1952 revolution in Egypt.

"Sadat was not one of the leading officers in the revolution and he had some distance from the leadership," Sa'id explained. "However, in the 1960s he started to climb up the ladder. He was the speaker of parliament and in 1968 he was selected as vice president. This all relates to the fact that they had a good relationship and no differences of opinion between them were known," he said.

Upon his death, Abdel Nasser was succeeded by Anwar Sadat, who signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Sadat was assassinated in October 1981 and succeeded by Hosni Mubarak, who has remained president to this day.