It seems like our allies in Egypt and Turkey have a particular intolerance for cartoonists and satirists in their parallel crackdowns on free speech. In Turkey, the Miss Turkey was arrested for repeating a satirical comparison of President Erdogan to Gollum. In Egypt, a teenager was jailed for cartoons of Muhammad and a leading businessman was attacked for a cartoon of Micky Mouse with a beard. Then there was the three-year sentence given Amr Nohan, a 22-year-old law graduate for posting a Facebook image of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi with Mickey Mouse-style cartoon ears (shown left). Now a leading cartoonist Islam Gawish, 26, has been arrested in Egypt by the hyper sensitive el-Sisi government.
Garish has a huge following of 1.6 million on Facebook. While he is not viewed as a particularly loud critic of the government, the el-Sisi government has plunged head first into the criminalization of free speech and jailing of critics.
The cause of the arrest may be the recent cartoon by Gawish of Mortada Mansour, a progovernment lawmaker who is widely ridiculed for his temper and bad language. Mansour heads Parliament’s human rights committee and was shown standing next to a torturer, advising him to lash his victim “gently.”
The government has charged Gawish with possessing pirated software and running an unauthorized personal website.
In the meantime, as el-Sisi denies freedom of speech and freedom of the press, we give Egypt roughly $1.5 billion a year in aid.
Source: NY Times