New allegations against Bassem Youssef

Ahram Online , Wednesday 10 Apr 2013

Egyptian TV satirist Bassem Youssef faces fresh allegations of harming diplomatic ties with Pakistan, promoting atheism and insulting attorney-general

Bassem Youssef
A screen shot of Youssef's show on CBC

Egyptian prosecutors have begun an investigation into three new complaints against TV satirist Bassem Youssef. He is accused of harming diplomatic ties between Egypt and Pakistan, promoting atheism and insulting the attorney-general.

Youssef hosts the popular weekly satirical show El-Bernameg on private satellite channel CBC.

Youssef is accused of harming diplomatic ties with Pakistan for his comments mocking President Morsi's speech at a Pakistani university in March.

He said Egyptians could not understand the speech, only the Pakistanis could.

The second allegation is based on Youssef's comments about religious obligations, such as prayers, which allegedly promote atheism.

The third allegation is over comments Youssef made at the prosecutor-general's office that allegedly mocked the attorney-general.

On 31 March, Youssef was interrogated by prosecutors over allegations that he insulted the president and Islam. He was released on bail.

During the interrogation Youssef tweeted: "Police officers and lawyers at the prosecutor-general's office want to be photographed with me, maybe this is why they ordered my arrest?"

The complaints were filed by 12 people after an episode of El-Barnameg on 1 March in which Youssef mocked the president's performance in an interview with TV anchor Amr El-Leithy.

In January, a number of Islamist lawyers filed a separate lawsuit against Youssef for "undermining the standing of the president" during his show, but the charges were dropped before the case reached court.

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