Egypt ruling party slates U.S. 'interference' over satirist

  • Egypt's ruling Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) on Tuesday hit out at United States on Tuesday, accusing it of "interference" after it condemned legal action against a television satirist.

    Bassem Youssef was questioned on Sunday over allegations that he insulted President Mohamed Morsi and Islam leading the U.S. State Department to express "concern" over the case's implications for freedom of speech in Egypt.

    In comments to reporters on Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stated that the case, "coupled with recent arrest warrants issued for other political activists, is evidence of a disturbing trend of growing restrictions on the freedom of expression".

    Youssef was released on bail on Sunday and ordered to pay $2,190.

    He 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.

    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.

    Stewart used Monday night’s edition of the Daily Show to express his support for Youssef.

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