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US blasts arrest warrant against Egypt satirist Bassem Youssef

AP, Monday 1 Apr 2013
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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.

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