CAIRO: Egypt’s state prosecutor on Tuesday ordered an investigation into a claim that popular satirical show host Bassem Yousef insulted President Mohamed Mursi, a judicial source said.
On his show Al Barnameg (The Programmeme), Youssef, dubbed the Egyptian Jon Stewart, had poked fun at the ruling Islamists and Mursi’s temporary adoption of extensive powers in November and December.
He may be summoned for questioning after the case was transferred to a Cairo prosecutor for investigation, the source said.
The lawyer who filed the complaint, Ramadan Abdel Hamid Al Aqsari, had in the past sought to sue a range of media personalities and politicians.
The state prosecutor, Talaat Ibrahim, had on Dec. 27 ordered a probe into three top opposition leaders accused of trying to incite Mursi’s overthrow.
The prosecutors were interrogating on Tuesday an Israeli man in the Red Sea port of Nuweiba who is suspected of espionage, a judicial source said.
“An Israel man was arrested on Monday in Taba on suspicion of espionage. He was remanded today in police custody for four days pending investigation,” the source said.
The suspect “infiltrated into Egypt through a mountainous area near Taba,” the source added, without elaborating.
In October 2011, Egypt freed a US-Israeli citizen under a prisoner exchange after he was arrested in Cairo and accused of working for Israel’s Mossad spy agency and sowing sectarian strife in Egypt, allegations he denied.
Israeli media identified the suspect arrested in Taba as 24-year-old Andrey Pshenichnikov, a Russian-born immigrant to Israel who had been arrested by the Israeli Shin Bet security service last year over his pro-Palestinian activism.
‘Haaretz newspaper said that he had served for 4 1/2 years in the Israeli military.
“After being released from the army, he underwent a dramatic political shift and started being active with radical left-wing organisations,” it wrote on Tuesday.
“A year ago he moved to Bethlehem and after that to the Deheishe refugee camp,” in the West Bank, it added. “His time living among Palestinians ended when he was arrested by the Shin Bet and accused of being a member of a terror organisation, but was later released after a court hearing.”