A Cairo prosecution ordered on Sunday the release on EGP 10,000 bail of high-profile journalist and TV personality Ibrahim Eissa pending further investigation in a legal complaint filed by parliament which accuses him of “insulting and mocking parliament.”
The prosecutors are also investigating another legal complaint against Eissa which was filed by lawyer Samir Sabry and accuses him of “publishing false news which endanger social peace.”
Eissa made bail on EGP 5,000 for each complaint.
A number of lawyers including human rights attorneys Hafez Abu Seada and Negad El-Borai, press union counsel Sayed Abo Zeid, and union board member Mahmoud Kamel attended the questioning of Eissa by the prosecution.
Eissa has denied all accusations against him.
Last week, parliament lodged the complaint against Eissa, the first-of-its-kind by the current legislature against a journalist, for insulting the parliament in his Al-Maqal newspaper.
The move came after MP and journalist Mostafa Bakri accused Eissa of directing insults at parliament.
Al-Maqal published an article last Tuesday with a satirical title saying that the Oscars should have awarded the Egyptian parliament “best cartoon.”
Parliament speaker Abdel-Aal charged that Eissa has become fond of constantly directing insults at parliament.
“I decided that all the insults in Eissa's article in Al-Maqal newspaper be referred to the prosecutor-general for investigation,” the speaker said, adding that “the insults in Eissa's article are a crime and represent a deviation from press freedoms.”
However, Abdel-Aal rejected another request by Bakri that parliament file a complaint against Ahmed El-Sayed El-Naggar, the board chairman of Al-Ahram Press Organisation, over an article published on Al-Ahram Arabic website pointing out the linguistic mistakes made by the parliament speaker in his speeches.
Eissa’s talk show on the privately-owned El-Kahera Wel Nas channel was cancelled in early January, though it is not clear if he resigned or if the show was suspended.
During his election in May 2014, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi appeared on a TV show with Eissa and TV presenter Lamees El-Hadidi in his first-ever television interview.
Eissa has held a number of editorial positions, including Al-Dostour during the latter years of Hosni Mybarak's rule and El-Tahrir newspaper after the 2011 revolution.
Eissa, who opposed the regime of Mubarak, hosted a number of TV shows after 2011.
He is the author a number of books and novels.
Article 71 of the Egyptian constitution stipulates that there shall be no imprisonment for "crimes committed by way of publication."
In 2008, a Cairo criminal court sentenced Eissa to two-months in prison for publishing an article in 2007 in Al-Dostour which raised questions about the health condition of then-president Mubarak.
The court found that Eissa's article negatively affected the country's economy. Eissa was spared jail time by a presidential pardon from Mubarak himself.