Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered on Tuesday that 30 complaints filed against Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, aka “the Egyptian Jon Stewart,” be referred to the general attorney for Cairo appeals prosecution for further investigation, Al Ahram reported.
The complaints include accusations that Youssef offended Egypt’s army chief Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi.
The weekly show, which airs on Fridays, was suspended on November 1, minutes before the second episode was due to air on host channel CBC. The channel claimed that Youssef and his producer had “violated what had been agreed upon” with the channel, as well as CBC’s “editorial policies.”
Those policies are probably very clear on not offending Egypt’s army chief Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi…
The show’s staff immediately issued a statement denying that they had violated the contract, adding that Youssef had not been notified of the ban in advance, and found out his show was suspended at the same time his viewers did.
Upping the ante on Tuesday, Youssef published an article entitled “Treason on Tango” in the Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk, giving examples of artists and intellectuals who had been falsely accused by authoritarian regimes of “treason” for “refusing to follow the herd.”
Youssef accused religious, military and fascist states of using nationalism as an excuse to frame dissenters.
“Whether you’re a Muslim scholar, a Hollywood writer, or a composer of the most beautiful Tango melodies, history will maybe remember you for your work and creativity, but most probably you’ll live as an outcast, hated and accused of treason, spying or blasphemy,” Youssef wrote.
This might be a good point in history to start a countdown to the day when we no longer hear news from Egypt about this gifted satirist.
Here’s the video of Jon Stewart being interviewed by Bassem Youssef in Cairo last June. It’s interesting to to note that the Egyptian satirist had poked a great deal more fun at deposed president Morsi than he did the current rulers. Do military dictators come with thinner skins?