State Commissioner's Authority report recommends retrial of Bassem Youssef

Ahram Online , Thursday 24 Oct 2013

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

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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