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Two Egyptian artists accused of treason for criticising Sisi

Egyptian Attorney General Judge Hisham Barakat yesterday ordered actor Khaled Abol Naga and singer Mohammed Attia to be investigated for charges of espionage and treason following public criticism of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, the Anadolu Agency quoted a judicial source as saying.

According to the lawsuit filed by lawyer Hisham Ibrahim Mustafa, "Khaled Abol Naga incited against the military establishment under the pretext of opposing the military operations in Sinai and called on the people to demonstrate against the Republic's president, disturbing the peace."

Mustafa said the incidents occurred before the November 28 protests, which means that Abol Naga has contacts with foreign intelligence services.

Further, Mustafa said that singer Mohamed Attia joined protests against the acquittal of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his aides in Abdel Moneim Riad Square, Cairo, in violation of the Penal Code and is also in contact with foreign intelligence agencies.

On Facebook, Attia denounced the espionage charges against him.

Egypt has witnessed tens of angry protests against the Cairo Criminal Court's decision to dismiss all criminal charges of killing peaceful demonstrators during the January 25 Revolution made against Mubarak, his two sons, Interior Minister Habib Al-Adly and six of Al-Adly's senior aides as well as businessman Hussein Salem. Attorney General Hisham Barakat Ali appealed the ruling.

In November, lawyer Samir Sabri filed another lawsuit against Khaled Abol Naga accusing him of high treason and disturbing the peace after the actor condemned the displacement of the Sinai residents to create a military buffer zone with Gaza and criticised Al-Sisi.

Egyptian authorities claimed the operations aimed to "stop terrorist infiltration" into the country after the attack on a military post on October 24 which led to the killing of at least 31 people and which injured 30 more, according to official figures.

A group of Egyptian filmmakers and writers signed a statement of solidarity with Abol Naga condemning the lawsuit. The signatories of the statement said they stand in solidarity with his right to express his opinion without being terrorised by people who "appoint themselves guardians of Egyptian patriotism".

In response to the reports, Abol Naga wrote on Twitter: "I do not accept defamatory statements by some television hosts against me or my family."

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