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‘Insulting Pakistan’ new charge against Egypt satirist Bassem Youssef

Published: Updated:

Egyptian prosecutors are probing three new complaints against Bassem Youssef for “insulting Pakistan,” “spreading atheism” and “insulting Islam,” the popular satirist wrote on his official Twitter account on Tuesday.

A prosecution office in Egypt’s northern governorate of Damietta said it is probing three complaints against Youssef.

He is accused of “insulting the state of Pakistan and causing tensions in its relations with Egypt,” judicial sources told Agence France Presse.

Youssef is currently on bail pending an investigation into charges of insulting Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and Islam.

In his weekly show al-Bernameg, the satirist wore a hat similar to, but much bigger than, that worn by Mursi while receiving an honorary doctorate from a university in Islamabad last month.

Another lawsuit claimed Youssef was attempting to “spread atheism” after he allegedly made fun of the prayer ritual, which constitutes “questioning one of the five pillars of Islam,” Egypt’s Tahrir newspaper reported.

The third lawsuit accused him of disrespecting a lawyer at the public prosecutor’s office, and police officers outside the court, when he was summoned in March.

Youssef posted satirical comments on Twitter such as: “Officers and the lawyer at public prosecution’s office want to take a picture with me.”

The complaint considered the Tweet “insulting,” Tahrir reported.

The charges against Youssef have raised international concerns.

Mursi’s presidential office has insisted that citizens’ complaints, not the office itself, are behind the probe.

Youssef’s high-profile case has prompted the United States to express “real concerns” about the direction being taken by the Egyptian government.