Egypt investigates satirist Bassem Youssef over show
CAIRO – Egypt’s top prosecutor on Monday ordered an investigation into a complaint that satirist Bassem Youssef, known as the country’s “Jon Stewart,” harmed national interests by ridiculing the country’s military in his first program of the season.
The decision could be a prelude to further action against the popular comedian such as questioning and a possible trial, posing a litmus test for the deeply divided country’s tolerance for criticism of the military and its leaders nearly four months after Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was toppled in a coup.
Youssef could not be reached for comment on the complaints and has remained largely silent on the issue, although he took to Twitter after Friday’s show to remind the public: “It is only an episode in a program, people.”
Youssef’s “Daily Show”-style program has brought a new type of political satire to Egypt, and he gained plaudits for mercilessly skewering Morsi and his Islamist supporters for mixing religion and politics and for failing to implement much-needed reforms amid more than two years of turmoil following the ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
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