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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

World

Egyptian satirist facing charges again mocks Morsi
AFP
Cairo, Egypt, April 06, 2013
First Published: 08:29 IST(6/4/2013)
Last Updated: 08:30 IST(6/4/2013)

Egyptian humorist Bassem Youssef again satirised President Mohamed Morsi on Friday in his first television show since facing charges of insulting the country's leader and Islam.

"I would love to know how you make your decisions," Youssef said of Morsi, comparing him to a magician drawing his ideas out of a hat.

He also ridiculed the pro-Morsi media and the prosecutor involved in the case against him.

"It's not fear... but after my visit to the prosecutor, I decided not to talk any more about Morsi. So I'm going to talk about the prosecutor, especially his problems!" he joked.

Youssef regularly skewers the country's ruling Islamists on his wildly popular weekly programme Albernameg (The Show), which is modelled on Jon Stewart's US satirical The Daily Show.

He is currently out on $2,200 bail after an interrogation on Sunday that lasted nearly five hours.

He was questioned on accusations of offending Islam through "making fun of the prayer ritual" and of insulting Morsi by "making fun of his international standing".

He is also subject to a new investigation for "threatening public security".

The charges against the Egyptian satirist have raised international concerns and Morsi himself on Wednesday stressed Egypt's commitment to freedom of expression, insisting that citizens' complaints, not his office, were behind the probe against Youssef.

However, the soaring number of legal complaints against journalists has cast doubt on Morsi's commitment to freedom of expression -- a key demand of the popular uprising that toppled his predecessor Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Youssef's high profile case prompted the United States to express "real concerns" about the direction being taken by the Egyptian government.


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