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Egypt: Prosecutors investigate comedian for insulting the president

9 January 2013

A popular Egyptian political satirist, Dr Bassem Youssef, who shot to fame with his amateur internet videos poking fun at public figures in the wake of the February 2011 uprising, is being investigated by prosecutors for allegedly insulting the president. This was reported by BBC World.

Bassem Youssef

A formal complaint was brought against Bassem Youssef for “undermining the standing” of President Mohamed Morsi in his television show.

Bassem Youssef is a doctor who shot to fame after winning a huge number of followers with his witty lampooning of public figures in amateur videos posted on the internet following the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s rule. He became a household name when his satirical show — likened to Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show in the US — began to be broadcast three times a week on one of Egypt’s independent satellite stations.

He has poked fun at everyone from fellow television presenters to well-known Muslim scholars and most recently President Morsi himself, the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil reported. But sketches in which he portrayed Mr Morsi as a pharaoh, calling him ‘Super Morsi’ for holding on to executive and legislative powers, and, separately, putting the president’s image on a pillow and parodying his speeches, have angered one Islamist lawyer, whose formal complaint has resulted in the investigation.

However, the BBC’s Bethany Bell in Cairo said Bassem Youssef has been the subject of a number of complaints in the past, none of which have come to much, and the decision to open an investigation does not mean necessarily that he will be prosecuted.
BBC World – 2 January 2013:
Popular Egypt satirist accused of mocking president

 

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