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Egypt arrests 'police condom' comedian amid crackdown on free speech

Egyptian authorities have led a far-reaching crackdown on dissent [Twitter]

Date of publication: 7 May, 2018

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Egyptian police have arrested a comedian who has made fun of authorities in the past, in the latest in an ongoing crackdown on free speech.

Egyptian police have arrested a comedian who has made fun of authorities in the past, in the latest episode of an ongoing crackdown on free speech.

Plainclothes security personnel detained Shady Abu Zeid on Sunday after they raided his home and confiscated his personal possessions, news website Mada Masr reported.

"[Police] broke a closet, stole money and seized mobile phones and laptops," Abu Zeid's lawyer told the local outlet.

The lawyer added that authorities have refused to tell Abu Zeid's family where he was being detained.

Abu Zeid's sister said in an online statement on Sunday that police had forcibly prevented her from following the police after they detained him.

The comedian sparked controversy in 2016 when he uploaded a video of himself distributing inflated condoms to police forces on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January revolution.

In response, he was forced to step down from a role on a popular satirical talk show.

Social media users have used an Arabic-language hashtag asking: "Where is Shady Abu Zeid?" to demand the authorities release the comedian.

Egyptian authorities have led a far-reaching crackdown on dissent following the 2013 ousting of the country's first freely elected president.

The crackdown has led to several politically-focused comedians being detained or forced to flee the country.

On Saturday, an atheist blogger, who was previously detained for promoting his anti-religion views, was arrested by police.

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