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Popular satirist to continue TV show despite investigations: Lawyer

Lawyer for controversial TV satirist Bassem Youssef, currently facing charges of insulting President Morsi, says new episodes will air on schedule

Ahram Online, Sunday 31 Mar 2013
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The weekly television episode of political satirist Bassem Youssef will be broadcast at its usual time on Friday evening despite recent charges leveled against the popular television host, according to Youssef's lawyer Hossam El-Sanhouri.

In a Sunday telephone interview with private satellite channel Al-Hayat, El-Sanhouri asserted that Egypt's prosecution-general lacked the authority to suspend the show.

On Saturday, the prosecution-general summoned Youssef – host of the CBC satellite channel's popular El-Bernameg programme – to answer charges of insulting the president in recent episodes of his show.

Youssef, who went to the prosecutor-general's office on Sunday morning, was released later the same day on LE15,000 bail pending investigation.

On the same day, dozens of Youssef's supporters rallied outside the prosecutor-general's office to express solidarity with the physician-turned-satirist.

Youssef later issued a public apology for being unable to make media appearances following his release "as we've already lost considerable time in which we were supposed to prepare for the next episode" – suggesting the show would not be affected by ongoing investigations.

El-Sanhouri clarified that only Egypt's administrative court system – and not the prosecution-general – had the authority to suspend transmission of the show.

The legal complaint against Youssef was filed by 12 individuals after a 1 March episode in which he mocked a February interview with President Mohamed Morsi conducted by television anchor Amr El-Leithy.

In January, a number of Islamist lawyers filed a separate lawsuit against Youssef, who they charged with "undermining the standing of the president" during his show. The charges were dropped, however, before the case reached court.

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