The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) called the investigation of two artists for political activity “new evidence of the severe deterioration of freedoms in Egypt”, in a Thursday statement.
Lawyer Hisham Ibrahim submitted a legal complaint against actor Khaled Abol Naga and singer Mohammed Attia for incitement against the military. Ibrahim also accused the pair of taking part in last Saturday’s demonstrations against the verdict of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat commissioned the East Cairo Prosecution to take up the lawyer’s case.
The complaint accuses the artists of insulting the military, inciting protest against the president, and violating the controversial ‘Protest Law’ that criminalises unapproved political gatherings.
According to the NGO’s statement, the complaint claims Attia is guilty of attempting to destabilise national security through affiliation with foreign intelligence services, under the guise of human rights organisations. The singer attended the protests at Abdel Moneim Riad Square last Saturday and later posted photos online to his Facebook account.
“The accusations of spying and treason against anyone who tries to oppose the current regime has returned strongly in Egypt in an attempt to please and flatter the authorities,” ANHRI said.
Abol Naga, who was named Best Actor at the Cairo International Film Festival last month, criticised the displacement of citizens in Sinai and the president’s handling of Islamist groups in a video posted on social networking sites.
The Protest Law, introduced in 2013 by the then interim president Adly Mansour, has been widely criticised by many human rights groups for its curtailment of political expression. Since its implementation, thousands have been arrested under its mandate, with prison terms and fines often imposed on offenders.