Egyptian authorities should drop their investigation into six young men who posted satirical videos commenting on Egypt’s politics on YouTube and release four of them, Human Rights Watch said in a statement yesterday.
The investigation into the men’s conduct appears to be based purely on their satirical videos and violates their right to free speech, the group said.
“Egypt under [President Abdel Fatah] Sisi is losing its legendary sense of humor when it locks up young men for making satirical videos,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “This kind of blanket repression leaves young people with few outlets to express themselves or joke about their daily hardships.”
Street Children in question:
- Ezz Al-Din Khaled
- Mohamed Dessouky
- Mohamed Adel
- Mohamed Gabr
- Mohamed Yehia
Prosecutors are investigating the men, of a group called Street Children, after the Interior Ministry’s National Security Agency alleged that they are “instigators against the ruling regime” who plotted to use “the internet, social media sites and YouTube” to spread video clips that would undermine the country’s stability by inciting citizens to protest. Prosecutors also investigated the four men in custody about terrorism-related accusations.
The week before the arrests, Street Children released a satirical music video in which they mocked Al-Sisi and called on him to leave office.