Tue, 15 Jun 2021

Egyptian authorities have released a comedian, who rose to stardom for his role on a popular satirical television show, after more than two years in prison without trial.

A rights lawyer Mokhtar Mounir said on Sunday that Shady Abu Zaid had been released from a Cairo police station late on Saturday. However, as part of his terms of release, he must report to a police station twice a week.

Shady's sister, Roula Abu Zaid, confirmed the news in a Facebook post and shared a photo of the siblings and their friends at home after his release.

Police arrested Abu Zaid in May 2018 after plain-clothed security officers raided his house in Cairo.

He was charged with joining an outlawed group, a reference to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, and disseminating false news.

Earlier this month, a court ordered his conditional release after he was held longer than the two-year period allowed for pretrial detention.

Abu Zaid had worked as a correspondent for a satirical show hosted by a puppet named Abla Fahita, an outspoken widow who has let loose on a number of subjects normally kept under wraps in Egypt.

The show has been cancelled.

Before his arrest, Abu Zaid also produced an online show called The Rich Content that was popular on social media networks.

In 2016, he attracted controversy for handing out balloons made of inflated condoms to police officers on the fifth anniversary of the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

Abu Zaid was one of many government critics behind bars in Egypt amid a years-long crackdown by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on the media.

More than 60 journalists are in jail in Egypt, according to the International Press Institute, with the country ranked among the world's worst jailers of journalists.

Source: News24

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