The U.S. State Department says arrest warrants and the investigation of a popular Egyptian satirist and other critics of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi highlight a "disturbing trend" of growing restrictions on freedom of expression in Egypt.
The strongly worded statement by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland Monday came a day after Bassem Youssef, who criticizes Morsi and hard-line clerics on his Jon Stewart-style show, was released on bail following an interrogation into accusations he insulted the country's leader and Islam.
Youssef's questioning followed arrest warrants against five prominent anti-government activists accused of inciting violence.
Nuland said it seemed Egypt's government failed to show even-handed justice in investigating cases of attacks against anti-Morsi protesters, journalists and police brutality.
Prosecutors deny launching a political crackdown, saying they are implementing the law.