Egyptian Shalit interviewer defends 'shocking' questions

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2011
Gilad Shalit hugs his father Noam

Gilad Shalit hugs his father Noam

The Egyptian journalist who questioned Gilad Shalit shortly after he was released from captivity has defended her technique.

Shahira Amin interviewed the sergeant, who looked pale, thin and tired and at points even gasping for breath, even before he had returned to Israeli soil and seen or spoken to his family.

She asked him a number of questions, including on whether his experience would prompt him to campaign for the release of thousands of other Palestinian prisoners. He said in response: "I hope they will be released and won't attack Israel," but his answer was poorly translated.

He was asked questions on his captivity, stating at one point "Hamas treated me well," while masked Hamas members stood behind him. During the interview, his handler suggested stopping it because Sergeant Shalit appeared unwell.

According to Ynet Israel had not agreed to the interview as part of the release arrangements. Following the soldier's return home, an Israeli official told Associated Press that he was "shocked that a so-called interview was forced on him."

Ms Amin wrote an explanation on Facebook. She denied taking advantage of him and said she had been told that "the world was waiting to see and hear him".

"Had he said he wouldn't do it, I would not have pressed him," she said. "I have all the compassion for him and wish him the best."

Last updated: 3:56pm, October 19 2011