Egypt: Those who insult president no longer face jail

August 5, 2013 20:33

CAIRO - A decree issued by Egypt's interim head of state on Monday means people no longer face jail for insulting the president, after a surge in such cases under deposed leader Mohamed Morsi including that of a popular comedian dubbed "Egypt's Jon Stewart."

The legal change by interim President Adli Mansour was welcomed by activists who had voiced concern over the high number of investigations during the one-year rule of ousted Islamist Morsi, who was toppled on July 3.But Human Rights Watch Egypt said the decree did not go far enough, arguing that insulting the president "should not be an offense in the first place."

Several Egyptians were investigated for insulting Morsi during his brief term in office, fueling fears that the Muslim Brotherhood politician was trying to crush freedoms won in the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The most high profile case was that of Bassem Youssef, a popular comedian likened to US satirist Stewart, who regularly poked fun at Morsi.

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