The U.S. has “concerns that freedom of expression is being stifled” in Egypt after the questioning of an irreverent television satirist frequently compared to American comedian Jon Stewart, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday.
Comedian Bassem Youssef appeared Sunday for questioning before a government prosecutor on charges of defiling Islam and defaming President Mohamed Morsi. He was released the same day on bail.
“This, coupled with recent arrest warrants issued for other political activists, is evidence of a disturbing trend of growing restrictions on the freedom of expression,” Nuland said at a news briefing.
She said that whereas the Egyptian government pursues cases like Youssef's, “it has been slow or inadequate in investigating attacks on demonstrators outside of the presidential palace in December” and other alleged police abuses.