Tuesday 21 November 2017

Conjoined twins' parents shocked by media bids

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE mother of conjoined Irish twin boys has revealed she felt the tabloid media had effectively "tried to put a price" on her sons' heads.

Angie Benhaffaf -- who last month allowed all Irish media outlets to have photographic access to her sons, Hassan and Hussein -- said she was totally shocked by the bidding war which erupted between rival tabloid papers after it was confirmed her youngsters were conjoined twins.

"One paper told us that they would match the highest offer we received (for the photos)," she said.

The family have refused to discuss the newspaper offers -- but it is understood one British tabloid offered €80,000 for exclusive photo rights to the children.

"We were totally shocked by it all -- it was a bit unsettling," she added.

Angie and her Algerian husband, Azzedine, eventually refused to sell the rights to photographic access and instead allowed photos to be released to all media outlets.

The couple explained they felt that selling the photos to a single tabloid paper -- despite the large sums on offer -- would effectively have exploited the situation.

Now, the couple have been totally overwhelmed with offers of financial aid, gifts and messages of support.

The boys, who are joined at the torso and do not share any major organs, are scheduled to undergo marathon 20-hour separation surgery in London later this year.

Last night, the east Cork-based couple acknowledged that they had been astonished by the sheer volume of support the plight of their two boys had attracted.

Angie and Azzedine have had to establish a special account -- The Little Fighters Fund -- just to cope with the flood of donations and offers of help for their two-month-old twins.

The account has been opened at the Permanent TSB's Patrick Street branch in Cork: sort code 99-07-03 and account no: 16556196.

Sunday Independent

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