TV Satirist Bassem Youssef Released On EGP 15,000 Bail

Egypt’s Prosecutor-General has released the TV satirist Bassem Youssef on EGP 15,000 ($2,142) bail on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier on Sunday, the popular television satirist known as Egypt’s Jon Stewart arrived at Egypt’s High Court in response to an arrest warrant submitted by the country’s top prosecutor.

The prosecutor-general had ordered Youssef’s arrest on Saturday after a number of complaints were made against him for allegedly insulting President Mohamed Morsi, denigrating Islam and spreading false news with the aim of disrupting public order.

Dozens of supporters of Bassem Youssef rallied outside the office of the prosecutor-general in solidarity with the one-time physician turned satirist.

The complaints were filed by 12 people after Youssef’s 1 March episode in which he mocked the president’s interview with TV anchor Amr El-Leithy in February.

According to Gamal Eid, human rights lawyer and executive director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), the number of ‘insulting the president’ lawsuits filed in the first 100 days of Morsi being in office was four times greater than those filed during the entire 30-year rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Most of the complaints filed since Morsi became president were submitted by private citizens, not by the office of the president, according to an ANHRI report.