Arrest warrant issued for Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef

  • An arrest warrant was issued on Saturday for Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef for allegedly insulting Islam and President Mohammed Morsi.

    Youssef has faced several complaints over his show El Bernameg (The Program), which sees him poke fun at figures ranging from television presenters to politicians and Muslim scholars.

    In a statement on Youssef's Twitter account, he confirmed the warrant, tweeting: "I will go to the public prosecutor's office on Sunday - unless they send me a police car and save me (the bother of) getting there on public transport."

    The case is the latest in a series of legal action taken against opponents of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party.

    Earlier this week, Egypt's top prosecutor ordered the arrest of five political activists, including a leading blogger, on suspicion of inciting aggression against the Brotherhood.

    Such cases have raised concerns over press freedom in Egypt with many arguing the Islamist-backed constitution, which came into effect earlier this year, fails to guarantee for a free media.

    Youssef, a heart surgeon, shot to fame after gaining followers with his parody of public figures posted on YouTube following the February 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

    He became a household name when his show, compared to Jon Stewart's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in the U.S., started to be broadcast on one of Egypt's independent satellite stations.