Egypt releases cartoonist pending investigations

AP News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2016 12:23 PM
Egypt releases cartoonist pending investigations

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian cartoonist, whose work is occasionally critical of government figures, was released on Monday pending investigations into his alleged operation of a webpage without a license, his lawyer said.

The Sunday arrest of Islam Gaweesh in the capital, Cairo, appeared to be part of a government clampdown on activists and journalists. In recent months, many have been detained, questioned and even forcibly disappeared.

"We don't believe the charge will lead to a full-blown trial ... (Gaweesh) has a license," Gaweesh's lawyer, Mahmoud Othman, told The Associated Press.

Gaweesh was undeterred by his brief stint in custody, according to Othman. The cartoonist "believes in his the right to draw. He was not afraid then and he is not afraid now," he said.

After the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, the government launched a crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds of protesters and jailing thousands of Morsi's supporters and young pro-democracy activists.

Also Monday, two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a security checkpoint in Cairo's twin city of Giza killing a policeman and wounding another before fleeing the scene, police Col. Osama Abdel-Fattah said.

Egypt has been hit with a wave of near-daily suicide bombings and militant attacks after Morsi's ouster. A local Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks.