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Lawyer denies Egypt's presidency sues satirist for mocking president


14:38, April 01, 2013

CAIRO, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian presidency did not sue satirist Bassem Youssef for mocking President Mohamed Morsi, the satirist's lawyer, Hossam al-Sanhouri, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview Sunday.

On Saturday, Prosecutor-General Talaat Ibrahim Abdullah issued an arrest warrant for Youssef over claims that were filed against the content of the latter's famous political comic show called " The Program," according to local media.

The prosecution accused Youssef of mocking Morsi, uttering blasphemous comments on Islam and spreading false news.

"None of the four claims filed against Youssef were submitted by the presidency," Sanhouri said, stressing that all claims were submitted by lawyers and citizens.

"I do not think Youssef would be convicted, even if the claims were referred to courts," Sanhouri said, voicing confidence in Egypt's judiciary and its support for freedom of expression.

Youssef rhetorically introduces his show with his own voice before each episode as "This show is sarcastic, satiric, unreal, nonobjective, biased."

Youssef, who said he was inspired by U.S. satirist Jon Stewart, has millions of viewers and supporters who launched web pages to express solidarity with him.

Islamists, the main supporters of the country's Islamist- oriented president, have repeatedly lashed out at Youssef as "a shameless liberal opportunist who mocks the president, the clerics and the religion."

Some lawyers criticized Youssef for alleged disrespect of the president and other figures while presenting his show.

For his part, opposition leader and ex-presidential candidate Amr Moussa said Youssef's arrest would enrage his numerous fans.

"Respect for the president does not conflict with criticizing his policies or dealing with him in sense of humor," Moussa said.

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