Egypt’s famed satirist Bassem Yousef freed on bail

Bassem Youssef, the country’s best-known satirist, gestures to journalists and activists as he arrives at the high court to appear at the prosecutor’s office in Cairo March 31, 2013. (Reuters)

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef was released on bail on Sunday after nearly five hours of questioning over alleged insults to President Mohamed Mursi and to religion.

Youssef was ordered to pay 15,000 Egyptian pounds (around $2,200) pending investigation into the complaints, judicial sources told AFP.

On Sunday, Egyptian prosecutors questioned Yousef over allegations he insulted the president and Islam, a case that has increased opposition fears of a crackdown on dissent.

Youssef rose to fame after the uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011, with a satirical online show. His program, that has been compared to the Daily Show of U.S. satirist Jon Stewart, is now broadcast on Egyptian TV.

The comedian is accused, among other things, of undermining the standing of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. The prosecutor general issued an arrest warrant for him on Saturday after at least four legal complaints filed by Mursi supporters.

In his recent show aired on Friday, Yousef harshly criticized Islamists.

He pretended to be a grandfather telling a tale. He was dressed in a red-checkered robe and seated on a wooden chair with music playing in the background. His story was of how reprisal has ensued between “good” Islamists and the rest of the “non-believers” in the country.

Last Update: Monday, 01 April 2013 KSA 09:36 - GMT 06:36