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State Commissioner's Authority report recommends retrial of Bassem Youssef

Thursday State Commissioner's Authority report argues that it is unacceptable to insult the president, regardless of unpopularity

Ahram Online , Thursday 24 Oct 2013
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Bassem Youssef
Egyptian television satirist Bassem Youssef entering Egypt's state prosecutors office to face accusations of insulting Islam and the country's Islamist leader in Cairo, Egypt in last March 2013 (Photo: AP)

Egypt's State Commissioner's Authority has recommended overturning the court ruling to dismiss the case against satirist Bassem Youssef for allegedly insulting the president, arguing that as a symbol of the state, the president should not be insulted.

In the 11-page report issued on Thursday, the Authority, which is part of Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court, said that it was unacceptable to insult the president because he is a "symbol of the state." According to the Authority, regardless of the president in power, this position must be protected "for what it represents to Egyptians."

The Authority recommended that the administrative court overturn its dismissal of a case against TV host Bassem Youssef for insulting ousted president Mohamed Morsi. The report advocates retrying Youssef and withdrawing the license of independently-owned CBC TV, the channel on which Youssef's show airs.

"All Egyptian constitutions have made a point to emphasise that the president is the head of the executive authority, which is why the constitutional legislator worked to protect the position of the presidency. It is not the person who holds that position, but rather the value of that position which is respected by the Egyptian people, regardless of who is president," the report stated.

In April 2013, the administrative court dismissed a case against Youssef leveled by an Islamist lawyer close to the Muslim Brotherhood which accused the famous satirist of insulting president Morsi in his popular TV show El-Bernameg.

The court dropped the accusations against Youssef because the plaintiff did not have an interest in pursuing the case.

The famous host will return to the TV screen on Friday with a new season of El-Bernameg, where he is expected to discuss the latest events in Egypt after nearly 100 days off air.

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26-10-2013 08:24am
Funny Decision
".......Supreme Administrative Court, said that it was unacceptable to insult the president because he is a "symbol of the state." According to the Authority, regardless of the president in power, this position must be protected "for what it represents to Egyptians." If this legal opinion was correct, so what about insults against former symbol of the state Hosni Mubarak? If insulting Hosni Mubarak was a criminal offense even today, all courts had to work day and night to sentence millions of offenders.
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25-10-2013 06:53pm
Where is the constitution that protects freedom of speech
This ruling is pretty much meant to muzzle and scare Bassem so that he will not point out the dysfunctions and screw ups of the past 100+ days. There is plenty of material for him should he stay true to his stated goals of holding the government accountable to the people.
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25-10-2013 05:06pm
Morsi was not an appropriate president and did way too many humiliating things that if Bassem Youssef himself was not going to point them out on tv, were already circulating the whole of Egypt. That man was not wise enough or educated enough to be a president. If he cannot be made fun out of then joking should be banned in the whole of Egypt.
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26-10-2013 09:29pm
Good Night!
Dear Silvia, Bassem has a doctorate in Medicine, just to say this by the way. If Everybody with a Ph.D. in whatsoever is qualified for President, then Good Night! And if Morsi really has a Ph.D. with honor from one of the best American Universities, then how it comes that he speaks English like an absolut beginner???
Sylvia Mitchel, Paris
25-10-2013 09:21pm
Mursi uneducated?
President Mursi has a Ph.D. (with honor) in engineering from one of the best Anerican universities, Bassem Yousef has a Ph.D. in mendacity.

Sam Enslow
24-10-2013 08:49pm
President - not king
A president is chief executive officer of a nation, not its king or symbol of the nation. He is an elected official who works for the people. If someone is so thin skinned he cannot stand be the subject of jokes and cannot stand to have his feeling hurt, he is too insecure to be a president. For example, if Morsy was politically wise, when Bassam Youssef wore the hat, Morsy would have made a point to go on the next show, claim HIS hat and present one to the satirist, maybe a top hat with donkey ears. He should have laughed with and joined the fun. To joke and insult politicians is a trait of democracy. It help keep them from getting too full of themselves and their importance. "If you cannot stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen."
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