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Egypt: Satirist troupe released after long detention, restrictions remain

14 September 2016

atfal al-shawarea
A Cairo court ordered the release of four members of the satirist troupe ‘Street Children’ after it granted their appeal over a tenth renewal of their pre-trial detention that would have extended their already four-month-long imprisonment by 15 more days, though the investigation on various charges related to their online videos will continue, reported Aswat Masriya on 7 September 2016.

The four members were released four days after the court order, but the detention was replaced by “precautionary measures”, including a travel ban and regular visits to a police station, the troupe’s defence lawyer Tarek al-Awady told Asrat Masriya, adding that it was “highly probable” that some charges against them may be dropped, while other charges might be changed, reducing them to misdemeanours.

The four young members of the six-member troupe had been in detention since 9 May 2016 and had two previous appeals for their release denied. The troupe, known for performing satirical sketches and songs and posting them online, were arrested after they posted a video on 2 May 2016 that criticised a governmental crackdown on protestors that took place in April 2016.

At the time, one member was arrested on 7 May 2016, but was released on bail three days later. The recently released four were arrested soon after. The sixth member of the troupe was never arrested, but all six members have been under investigation.

The troupe has been facing charges of “instigating a revolt against the government”, “forming a group aiming to challenge the principles of the state and ruling authorities”, “disseminating false information that disturbs public peace” and “insulting state institutions and the president”, which combined can carry a prison term of up to five years. Lawsuits have been filed against them for “religious contempt” as well, and at one point during the detention, prosecutors threatened to bring up terrorism charges on them.


Photo courtesy of Atfal al-Sharawea (Street Children)


Sources

» Daily News Egypt – 10 September 2016:
‘Street Children’ released 4 days after court order

» Ahram Online – 7 September 2016:
Egypt court orders release of ‘Street Children’ satire group on pending inquiry

» Aswat Masriya – 7 September 2016:
‘Street Children’ group members ordered released after more than 150 days in custody

» Daily News Egypt – 7 September 2016:
‘Street Children’ band members released


More from Freemuse

» 22 August 2016: Egypt: Satirist troupe’s detention renewed, totalling 105 days

» 5 July 2016: Egypt: Satirist troupe’s detention renewed, amounting to 75 days

» 11 May 2016: Egypt: Five members of satirist troupe arrested

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