Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef is surrounded by supporters at the public prosecutor's office in Cairo, March 31, 2013
Egyptian satirist and TV host Bassem Youssef is surrounded by supporters as he arrives at the public prosecutor's office in the high court in Cairo, on March 31, 2013. Egypt's Administrative Court has thrown out a lawsuit demanding Youssef's popular satire show be taken off air and its broadcaster shut down, a judicial source said. © Khaled Desouki - AFP/File
Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef is surrounded by supporters at the public prosecutor's office in Cairo, March 31, 2013
AFP
Last updated: April 6, 2013

Egyptian court rejects case to take satirist off air

An Egyptian court threw out on Saturday a lawsuit demanding a popular satirist's show that has mocked Islamist President Mohamed Morsi be taken off the air and its broadcaster shut down, a judicial source said.

An Islamist lawyer had accused controversial political comedian Bassem Youssef of being disrespectful to the audience and to the president and insulting state symbols and Egyptian values with "sexual innuendo."

The suit cited Youssef's mockery of a hardline Islamist politician and a photoshopped image of Morsi, who often professes love for his audience in speeches, hugging a red pillow on the show.

It also demanded that the state revoke the licence of Capital Broadcasting Center (CBC) for airing Youssef's show.

The court threw out the complaint, saying the plaintiff had no legal standing to file the suit.

On Friday, Youssef made his first TV appearance on his weekly show since his interrogation by prosecutors last Sunday for allegedly insulting Islam and Morsi.

He regularly skewers the ruling Islamists on the wildly popular Albernameg (The Show), which is modelled on Jon Stewart's US satirical The Daily Show.

Egypt's prosecutor held Youssef for questioning for more than five hours before freeing him on bail for 15,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,200/1,692 euros).

Several prominent media critics of Egypt's Islamists have faced legal complaints.

Under Egypt's legal system, complaints are filed to the public prosecutor, who decides whether there is enough evidence to refer the case to trial. Suspects can be detained during this stage of investigation.

Morsi has said he remains committed to protecting freedom of expression, and that complaints against the TV satirist did not come from the presidency, but from "citizens" offended by Youssef's brand of humour.

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