Egyptian satirist questioned for insulting Mohammed Mursi, freed on bail

Egyptian satirist questioned for insulting Mohammed Mursi, freed on bail

Egyptian prosecutors questioned Egypt's most popular television satirist on Sunday over allegations that he insulted President Mohamed Mursi, a case regarded by his critics as new proof of a crackdown on dissent, Reuters reported.

Bassem Youssef turned himself in after the prosecutor general issued an arrest warrant for him on Saturday. He was released on bail of 15,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,200).

Youssef rose to fame with a satirical online show after the uprising that swept autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011. His program, which has been compared to the Daily Show of U.S. satirist Jon Stewart, is now broadcast on television.

The comedian is accused of insulting Islam and undermining the standing of Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood politician freely elected last June. The prosecutor general issued the warrant after at least four legal complaints filed by Mursi supporters.

Arriving at the prosecutor general's office, Youssef was wearing an oversized version of a graduation hat modeled on one donned by the president when he was awarded an honorary degree in Pakistan earlier in March.


He had sported the hat on his widely watched show, one of many satirical jabs at Mursi. Last year, he poked fun at Mursi's repeated use of the word "love" by singing a love song to a heart-shaped pillow with the president's face printed on it.

The investigation has raised fears for freedom of expression in the post-Mubarak Egypt. "It is an escalation in an attempt to restrict space for critical expression," said Heba Morayef, Egypt director at Human Rights Watch.

It is the most high-profile of a series of similar cases brought on accusations of insulting Mursi. Two dozen such cases were brought in the first 200 days of his rule - four times as many as during Mubarak's 30 years in power, according to human rights lawyer Gamal Eid.

Prominent liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei said it was the kind of action only seen under "fascist regimes". "It is the continuation of the failed and ugly moves to thwart the revolution," he wrote on Twitter.

Mursi has hardened his tone in response to recent violent protests against him and the Brotherhood. After promising a week ago to take steps to protect the nation, Mursi vowed on Tuesday to "break the neck" of anyone who threw a petrol bomb.

The unrest is frustrating efforts to revive the economy.

Youssef was questioned after the prosecutor general issued five arrest warrants last week for prominent political activists accused of inciting violence against the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that propelled Mursi to power in last year's election.

The United States, which supplies $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt each year, expressed concern last week over reports that arrest warrants had been issued for political activists.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. government was also concerned this case was being investigated while others, including cases where protestors were attacked outside Mursi's palace in December or cases of "extreme police brutality" had "not been appropriately investigated".

Opposition figures say that the prosecutor, Talaat Ibrahim, is biased towards Mursi, who appointed him last November, and they want him removed from office.

A court ruled last week that Ibrahim's appointment was illegal and that he must step down. Ibrahim, who denies any bias, plans to appeal against the ruling.

Insurance in Azerbaijan leads in attracting investments in financial technologies
Insurance in Azerbaijan leads in attracting investments in financial technologies
Gold, silver prices down in Azerbaijan on Feb. 28
Gold, silver prices down in Azerbaijan on Feb. 28
Azerbaijani currency rates for Feb. 28
Azerbaijani currency rates for Feb. 28
Loading Bars
Latest
Georgia names products most demanded in EU
New Zealand confirms first case of the new coronavirus
Kazakh uranium extracting company to buy construction materials via tender
Insurance in Azerbaijan leads in attracting investments in financial technologies
Oil prices on track for biggest weekly decline in over four years
Prices of some foodstuffs soar in Iran
Azerbaijani oil prices on Feb. 27
Uzbekistan Airways suspends flights to Jeddah, Medina
Azerbaijan deploys special laboratories to combat COVID-19 (PHOTO)
El Al suspends flights to Italy and Thailand
Gold, silver prices down in Azerbaijan on Feb. 28
Philippines: No Filipinos in Iran infected by coronavirus
Azerbaijani currency rates for Feb. 28
Georgia plans to improve water supply in five cities
Thailand reports one new coronavirus case, total reaches 41
Azerbaijan discusses possibility of Romania’s joining Southern Gas Corridor (PHOTO)
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 24 times on Feb.27- Feb.28
Georgian government talks on privatization of Georgian Railway
Azerbaijani university opens tender to purchase minibus
Iran coronavirus death toll reaches 26, many Friday prayers canceled
Hyundai shuts down factory after worker tests positive for coronavirus
Korean Air says it will not allow passengers with fever to fly to U.S.
Temenuzhka Petkova: We’re moving towards successful implementation of ambitious Southern Gas Corridor (Interview)
U.N. chief declares women's inequality 'stupid' and a global shame
Turkey, with more dead troops, says it won't stop Syrian refugees reaching Europe
Japan jobless rate rises to 2.4% in January: government
Venezuela to let companies raise capital in dollars as Maduro liberalizes economy
Bed Bath & Beyond to cut about 500 jobs
Facebook to publicly track political sponsored content after Bloomberg's paid memes
Botswana commemorates Fallen Heroes Day
Thyssenkrupp sells elevator unit for $18.7 billion to Advent-led consortium
British region of Northern Ireland confirms first coronavirus case
Spanish pilot killed in military jet crash into sea
Kulevi terminal has new bund for oil tanks
Romgaz reduces gas production
StealthMail event in Baku focuses on creating anti-cyber attack software
Share of exchange transactions in national currency grows in Azerbaijan
Global oil demand to dip to lowest level since 2011
Turkey reveals volume of cargo shipped through Hopa port
Azerbaijan’s Agah Group construction company reveals cost of tender won abroad
Azerbaijan’s Khazar Inshaat company talks construction process of high-rise building in Baku
Customs Committee talks alleged coronavirus carrier who passed through Azerbaijan
S&P affirms AzerEnergy company’s rating at BB
Azerbaijani minister, US deputy secretary mull ensuring energy security (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's potential for entrepreneurship in culture & art sector highlighted
Azerbaijani Brightman company discloses export earnings of 2019
Iran discloses amount of investments made by private sector in ports
Azerbaijan’s AzerEnerji restores lost generating capacity of Khachmaz power plant
Turkmen State Customs Service integrating single window project for foreign trade
Iran discloses activity of NIMA system
Approximate delivery date of Azerbaijan's oil via tankers to Belarus revealed
Azerbaijan working to attract investments into its renewable energy industry
Production of building materials in Azerbaijan to increase
Kazakhstan's FlyArystan launches flights on various routes from Karaganda city
Azerbaijani Agricultural Insurance Fund, TARSIM sign declaration of intent
Platform for introducing Islamic banking in Azerbaijan ready
Kazakhstan Railways opens tender for transport maintenance
Azerbaijan’s Yelo Bank to attract repair services for its branch
Azerbaijan, Turkey eye to increase trade turnover
Kazakhstan's Aktobe, Uzbekistan to increase bilateral trade
Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund reveals investments in gold
Azerbaijan okays deal between MOL Group, Chevron on ACG project
Turkmenistan holds meeting on fighting money laundering, financing of terrorism
Consular Department: Georgia not to tighten visa regime due to coronavurus threat
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan strike deal to open joint car dealership
Iran’s vice president infected with coronavirus
Project in Turkmenistan gets investment from Singapore's Yug-Neftegaz Private
Wizz Air reduces number of flights from Georgia to several Italian cities
Azerbaijan's Ganja Instrumentation Factory to increase production, exports by late 2020
Money transfers volume increases in Kazakhstan
Uzbekistan makes changes to requirements for commercial banks
Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund discloses volume of assets
All visitors entering Georgia via Red Bridge border crossing point checked
Iran bans Chinese citizens from entering the country
EU says equivalence for financial services not part of trade talks with UK
Turkmen Ministry opens tender for ceramic tile plant construction
Deadline for gas refining plant construction at Kazakhstan's Kashagan field revealed
Ministry of Health of Georgia: No Azerbaijani citizens suspected of coronavirus infection
Iran-Russia conference on customs cooperation cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak
Civil Aviation Agency: Georgia not to cancel flights with other countries at this stage
Azerbaijan's Brightman company to enter new foreign markets
Azerbaijan - Turkey trade continues to grow
President Ilham Aliyev presented Order “For Service to Motherland” 1st Class to Artur Rasizade (PHOTO)
Israel confirms coronavirus in man who returned from Italy
Azerbaijan’s PMD Group talks on reconstruction of big facility in Baku
Azerbaijan’s Khazar Inshaat company talks construction of housing estates in one of Baku’s settlements
German companies have good opportunities to take part in Uzbekistan's construction sector
Investments of German companies in Uzbekistan increase
Azerbaijan discloses number of suspected coronavirus patients
Exports of textile raw materials from Turkey to Iran increase
Turkmenistan increases chemical imports from Turkey
ESET talks vulnerability of operating systems in Azerbaijan
Taxi group wins right to join Uber's London license appeal case
Volume of crude oil transshipment via Turkish ports disclosed
Azerbaijan discloses amount of investments made in Turkish economy
Turkmenistan significantly increases car imports from Turkey
Turkmenistan increases import of electrical goods from Turkey
Baku hosts meeting of youth & sports ministers of Islamic countries
Turkmenistan reduces import of textile raw materials from Turkey
Turkish Airlines suspends flights to Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan
All news