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Fresh complaints to Egypt's prosecutor over Bassem Youssef's 'El-Bernameg' show

Youssef now stands accused of insulting the 'symbols' of the country and military

Ahram Online, Friday 14 Feb 2014
bassem
Egyptian satirist and comedian Bassem Youssef (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's general prosecutor referred to investigation on Thursday a new complaint against the country's top satirist Bassem Youssef for allegedly "insulting" the military during the last episode of his popular El-Bernameg TV show on Friday 7 February.

The report accuses Youssef of insulting the armed forces, the will of the Egyptian people and the "symbols" of both Egypt and its government, thereby threatening the safety and stability of the country.

The accusations are also directed at Waleed Ibrahim, the owner of the Saudi MBC TV channel which broadcasts Youssef's show.

The prosecutor has referred the case to Cairo's appeals prosecution, which is already looking into other complaints against the comedian.

Youssef's show debuted last Friday after a long hiatus brought on after the original private satellite host channel, CBC, abruptly stopped airing the programme.

During Friday's show, Youssef joked about the mania sweeping Egypt in favour of its defence minister, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi – an "El-Sisi Mix" sandwich at a restaurant, street vendors who sell trousers autographed by El-Sisi and a football association official who said that the mere presence of the field marshal would deliver Egypt to its first World Cup in 20 years.

Showing that all talk inevitably leads to mentioning the general, he also played a video clip of a Spanish song with a chorus of "si-si," which means "yes" in Spanish.

Last November, Egypt's prosecutor referred 30 complaints against Youssef to judge Zakaria Abdel-Aziz, the general attorney for Cairo's appeals prosecution.

The complaints, which are still being investigated, include accusations that Youssef offended El-Sisi during the first episode of his show's third season.

The episode caused CBC TV channel to cancel the show, claiming that Youssef and his producer had "violated" the stations "editorial policies" as well as contractual obligations.

The 39-year-old comedian also faced a probe under ousted president Mohamed Morsi over allegations of insulting the president and Islam.

The charges were dropped, however, before the case reached court.

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bknot
16-02-2014 08:45am
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NEVER BE!!
There will never be freedom of expression in any Arab Country. I hate to say it but its true..This is a talk show that is suppose to poke fun at all parties to bring laughs, but the state of mind of people, they don't see it that way, so they camplain. Wake up, we all know everyone complain about the government in their home or at a cafe or in the taxi.. will you complain and turn them in or yourself..I'm done, not worth vetting or typing.. nothing will change..
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Aladdin, Egypt
15-02-2014 09:54pm
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silly
You crossed the line from being funny to become silly. LOOOL.
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Farhan
18-02-2014 08:31am
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Yeh Its only funny when he makes fun of people who you don't like.
other wise its just silly.
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SAWSAN MOSTAFA ALI
15-02-2014 07:28pm
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DO NOT GIVE HIM ANY IMPORTANCE
HIS PROGRAM IS VERY BAD AND HE HAS ALREADY LOST HIS AUDIENCE ----------I THINK WE SHOULD STOP TALKING ABOUT HIS SILLY PROGRAM. EVERYBODY KNOWS NOW THAT HE IS AGAINST HIS OWN COUNTRY.
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2



Free Speech must exist
15-02-2014 05:16pm
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They need to grow up
Those who don't like freedom of speech run crying to the courts so as to violate and tear up a constitution they said they wanted. They need to man up and accept their idols' foibles being mocked. Criticism of both good and bad entities (in this case, bad) happens; deal with it. o
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Sam Enslow
15-02-2014 02:25pm
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Question
In the past and now I read about people filing complaints against someone for insulting someone or another. Now Bassem Youssef is charged with insulting the army, and, I assume Field Marshall Sisi. By his position and the one targeted by Youseff's comments, would it not be the Field Marshall who would determine if he is insulted or not - or if the army has been insulted. Would any one else have standing to bring such charges? I also thought the new constitution guaranteed the right of artistic expression which would include satire.
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nobody
16-02-2014 06:45am
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It's a strange quirk of Egyptian law that anyone can lodge a complaint and has often been used to silence dissent without the "offended" individual having to get directly involved. It's also a strange quirk in Egypt, rarely seen in more mature democracies, that "offensive" speech is illegal speech, providing yet another tool to oppress and stifle free speech.
Sam Enslow
15-02-2014 07:51pm
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Answer?
I was asking a question about Egyptian law. Maybe better put - Can anyone say the army was insulted or the Field Marshall insulted or must they make the charge that they were insulted? How does a third party know if Field Marshall was insulted or not. He may have laughed.
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