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’60 Minutes’ to Air Interview With Egyptian President Despite Call From Ambassador to Block It

CBS says it will air sit-down with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi this Sunday

Last Updated: January 4, 2019 @ 6:17 AM

“60 Minutes” conducted an interview with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi that they say the Egyptian government asked them not run. In an article teasing the interview, the news organization said they will proceed with the piece this Sunday and not bow to any pressure.

“The ’60 Minutes’ team was contacted by the Egyptian Ambassador shortly after and told the interview could not be aired. The interview will be broadcast on ’60 Minutes,’ Sunday, January 6 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS,” they wrote, in a post headlined “The Interview Egypt’s Government Doesn’t Want On TV.”

The interview was conducted by show veteran Scott Pelley while the Egyptian president was in New York on a recent visit. In a brief clip released by CBS, Pelley can be seen questioning the general over the jailing of political dissidents.

“Do you have a good idea of how many political prisoners you’re holding?” Pelley asked.

“We don’t have political prisoners, or prisoners of opinion,” el-Sisi responded. “We are trying to stand against extremists who impose their ideology on the people. Now they are subject to a fair trial and it may take years, but we have to follow the law.”

Pelley pressed, citing Human Rights Watch figures reporting that 60,000 political prisoners were currently being held in Egypt.

El-Sisi responded again, without emotion, denying the figure and saying he had no idea where the number was coming from.

Reps for el-Sisi at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap about the “60 Minutes” claim.

The interview comes at a much-needed time for “60 Minutes,” which has been without an executive producer after longtime chief Jeff Fager exited in the wake of a #MeToo scandal. Fager was a close ally to former CBS chief Les Moonves, who was also fired by the company and denied severance (a decision he is fighting). Details from an internal investigation into CBS’ culture of sexual misconduct have frequently been leaked to the press.

“60 minutes” currently remains without a full-time leader.