Four young Egyptians have been remanded in custody accused of making fun of the government in a satirical video posted on social networks, judicial sources said yesterday.
The move is the latest in a crackdown on voices critical of the authorities in Egypt.
At the same time, a fifth member of the group known as Street Children arrested on Saturday was ordered released on bail.
Their latest production appears to have touched a nerve as police round up activists involved in April protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for handing over two islands to Saudi Arabia.
Rights groups accuse Sisi of running an ultra-authoritarian since he deposed in 2013 his democratically elected Islamist predecessor Mohamed Mursi.
Mahmud Ottman, a lawyer for the four, said they were arrested late Monday while visiting a friend’s home in central Cairo.
Yesterday, Mohamed Adel, Mohamed Gabr, Mohamed al-Dessouki and Mohamed Yehya were remanded in custody for 15 days, their lawyer and a judiciary official said.
In the group’s latest video, Street Children mock the devaluation of the Egyptian pound as well as the return of the islands to Saudi Arabia.
The four are accused of “promoting ideas calling for terrorist acts by posting a video on social networks and YouTube,” Ottman said.
They are also suspected of “incitement to take part in demonstrations disturbing the public order” and “inciting mobs to commit hostile actions against state institutions,” he added.
A Cairo court yesterday ordered the release on bail of E£10,000 (about 990 euros) for a fifth member of the group, Ezzedine Khaled.
He is accused of “inciting protests and publishing a video that insulted state institutions”.
Ottman said the bail had been paid and he expected Khaled to be released.
Attempts to protest last month against the handover of the two islands to Saudi Arabia were nipped in the bud by the authorities.
Since then, they have also cracked down on activists, bloggers, lawyers and journalists.
The overthrow of Mursi, who was deeply unpopular, unleashed a police crackdown on his supporters that has killed hundreds of protesters and imprisoned thousands of people.
Hundreds of people including Mursi have also been sentenced to death in speedy mass trials denounced by the UN as “unprecedented in recent history”.