Member of satirical troupe released, 4 others to be detained for 15 days
Courtesy: Atfal al-Shawarea Facebook page

Nineteen-year-old actor and student Ezz Eddin Khaled, a member of the satirical Atfal al-Shawarea troupe, was released on Tuesday, while four other arrested group members were ordered to be detained for 15 days pending investigations.

Khaled, who was arrested from his house in the early hours of Saturday morning, is the youngest member of the troupe, which has been posting satirical videos in selfie-format on their Facebook page since January 2016.

An initial release order was issued for Khaled on Monday before being appealed by Masr al-Gedida Prosecution. The appeal was rejected by the Northern Cairo Misdemeanor Court on Tuesday, and the teenage actor was released, according to lawyer Mahmoud Othman from the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).

The other members of the group were arrested from their friend’s house in the Sayeda Zeinab district of Cairo on Monday night. Mohamed Dessouki, Mohamed Yehia, Mohamed Adel and Mohamed Gabr each received orders for 15 days of pretrial detention pending investigations, Othman told Mada Masr.

The charges leveled against them include instigating a revolt against the government, forming a group aiming to challenge the principals of the state and ruling authorities, as well as disseminating false information that disturbs public peace.

Atfal al-Shawarea (Street Children) has released several short videos using humor and a capella singing to comment on the state of art, society and politics in Egypt, building a following of almost 300,000 people on their Facebook page.

Their last video, which was released on May 2 and garnered almost one million views, criticized the recent crackdown on the Journalists Syndicate and the protests against transfer of two Red Sea islands off the coast of Egypt to Saudi sovereignty. The video uses classical Arabic in the tone of dubbed foreign cartoons, and ends with the troupe declaring that the revolution continues and saying “Leave!” — the chant used in protests against former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi.

Their previous video, the title of which translates as “Saudi Arabia: 7,000 Years of Civilization,” retells Egyptian history as if it was in Saudi Arabia. It is their most viewed video, with more than two million views to date.

Since the groups’s arrest, their Facebook page has been suspended, but their videos can be viewed on YouTube.


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