Popular political cartoonist Islam Gawish was arrested and remanded in custody on Sunday, with officials saying it is because he ran an unlicesnced website and fans claiming it is because his political cartoons were critical of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.If you take Egyptian officials' claims at face value, this means that every single Egyptian citizen must obtain a license before creating a Facebook account???
Gawish, who is widely known for his cartoons published on al-Wara’a, was arrested at the office of a news website where he works. The Interior Ministry said in a statement the arrest was ordered because his website and Facebook page do not have licenses. Routers and processors belonging to the website were confiscated from the office.
Social network users attributed the action to Gawish’s popular, politically-critical cartoons on his Facebook page.
A co-admin for Gawish’s Facebook page quoted prosecutors as accusing him of using “counterfeit Windows copies” for his work and “running an unlicensed Facebook page”, an accusation that has been received with sarcasm by his fans.
Egypt had 16 million Facebook users in 2014, and that ballooned to 27 million as of last November.
It seems unlikely that every one of them has applied for a license.
It does seem likely that Egypt uses this law, if it really exists, as a convenient reason to arrest people who say things it doesn't like.
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