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Activist to be tried for insulting Egypt's President Morsy

| Thursday, May 2, 2013, 9:21 p.m.

TANTA, Egypt — Prominent Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma was arrested and immediately referred to trial for allegedly insulting the country's president in a TV interview, a prosecutor said on Thursday.

Douma is to stand trial on Sunday — less than a week after being arrested. He is the first prominent opposition activist to be tried on charges of insulting Islamist President Mohamed Morsy.

There have been myriad complaints levied against journalists and TV personalities, including well-known satirist Bassem Youssef, for insulting Morsy.

Rights groups say such charges restrict freedom of expression.

“The crime of insulting the president is vague and undefined,” the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights, one of Egypt's oldest such groups, said in a statement. “Most criminal codes in the world have abolished such crime.”

In Egypt, such a crime is punishable by up to three years in prison.

A teacher was sentenced to six years in prison in September for insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad and Morsy in comments posted on Facebook. A prominent TV presenter was acquitted on charges of insulting the president and spreading false information after an appeal.

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