State Department Decries Arrest Of Egyptian Satirist
The U.S. State Department has voiced its concern about the arrest of popular Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef on charges of insulting Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim religion on his television show, which has an estimated audience of 30 million throughout the Middle East. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland expressed the U.S. government's view that Youssef's arrest represented a disturbing trend by the Egyptian government to crack down on freedom of expression. Her remarks immediately drew fire from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, saying that they constitute a hasty, blatant interference in Egypt's internal affairs and that they will be interpreted by Egyptians as a defense of contempt of religion by the media. After a warrant was issued for his arrest on Sunday, Youssef turned himself in and was questioned for five hours before being released on the equivalent of $2,200 bail.