Mohammed Morsi - AP Photo/Egyptian State TV
CAIRO (AP) - The Egyptian president's Freedom and Justice party has sharply dismissed U.S. criticism of the investigation of a popular TV satirist, calling it a "blatant intervention" in Egypt's internal affairs.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday that Bassem Youssef's interrogation along with arrest warrants against rights activists underlined a "disturbing trend" of growing restrictions on freedom of expression in Egypt.
She spoke a day after Youssef, who ridicules Morsi and hardline clerics on his weekly TV show, was released on bail following hours of questioning over accusations he insulted Morsi, an Islamist, and Islam.
A statement issued Tuesday by Morsi's party said Nuland's comments would inevitably be understood by Egyptians as a U.S. endorsement of the contempt of religious practices by some in the Egyptian media.