Egypt: Prosecutor Opens Criminal Investigation Against Comedian Accused of Insulting the President

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Prosecutors in Cairo opened a criminal investigation on Tuesday into allegations that a popular television comedian, Bassem Youssef, who has taken special aim at ultraconservative Islamists on his program, had insulted Egypt's president, Mohamed Morsi, during his satirical monologues.  

The accusations against Mr. Youssef come amid growing fears among Egypt's media professionals that the country's newly ratified Constitution offers scant protections for freedom of expression.

Since Mr. Morsi was elected in June, the authorities have opened investigations into several media figures accused of insulting him or the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group he once led.

An Islamist lawyer who filed the complaint against Mr. Youssef, Ramadan al-Aqsuri, said a skit in which the comedian printed a picture of Mr. Morsi's face on a red pillow amounted to a "sharp attack on the person of the president." Separately, a Muslim Brotherhood lawyer filed a lawsuit asking the state to pull Mr. Youssef's show off the air and to close down the channel that carries it, citing "sarcasm against the president."  

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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