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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
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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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