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Egyptian prosecutors investigate comedian over Morsy parody

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 9:32 p.m.

CAIRO — Egyptian prosecutors began an investigation on Tuesday against a popular television satirist for allegedly insulting President Mohamed Morsy in the latest case raised by Islamist lawyers against outspoken media personalities.

Lawyer Ramadan Abdel-Hamid al-Oqsori charged that TV host Bassem Youssef insulted Morsy by putting the Islamist leader's image on a pillow and parodying his speeches.

The case against Youssef occurs as opposition media and independent journalists are growing increasingly worried about press freedoms under a new constitution widely supported by Morsy and his Islamist allies.

Other cases have been brought against media personalities who have criticized the president. Some of the cases have ended with charges being dropped. Morsy's office maintains that the president has nothing to do with legal procedures against media critics.

On Tuesday, the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, one of Egypt's most widely circulated newspapers, said Morsy's office filed a complaint accusing it of “circulating false news likely to disturb public peace and public security and affect the administration.”

The paper published a report recently attributed to sources saying that Morsy was expected to visit the hospital where ousted President Hosni Mubarak is receiving treatment for an injury in his prison cell.

Mubarak is serving a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of nearly 900 protesters during the uprising against him.

A visit by Morsy would have inflamed public anger. The paper later updated the story to say that only Morsy's wife went to the hospital and that she visited a relative.

The paper said a reporter and an editor were summoned for interrogation.

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