President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi commented Monday on the arrest of cartoonist Islam Gawish by saying that he is not upset with him.
During a phone call with privately-owned Al-Youm channel on Monday, Sisi said, “I swear I don’t get upset with anyone. There’s nothing called ‘consensus on someone’. I swear I’m not upset with Gawish or any other individual."
In related news, Gawish offered thanks to those who supported him following his arrest on Sunday, saying that after he was released from the prosecution he headed to the Cairo International Book Fair to attend the signing of his book.
In a phone call with privately-owned ON TV channel, Gawish said, “I don’t know why I was arrested. It seemed that they wanted to arrest someone else and I was taken by mistake. I was not the one meant to be arrested.”
He added that “my treatment was good. No one in the prosecution or the police station ill-treated me. I would like to thank whoever supported me.”
“Artistic works detectives raided my place and asked about the content of my Al-War’a page. They took my ID. Then I went with them,” he said. “At the police station, I was told that I offended the symbols of the state. I did not agree to sign down on my remarks as I was said to be head of a network and that I make drawings that are against the country. I also didn’t have lawyer.”
Gawish denied any political affiliation to any party or movement, adding that he did not incite against the country through his drawings.
He said he is not against anyone but he mocks mistakes through his right in freedom of expression. He called on the government to pay attention to young talent.
“Police confiscated a router and two computer monitors,” he said, adding that he refused to join any newspaper for his art. “I was able through social media to show my caricatures.”
The Interior Ministry said in a statement Monday that Gawish's arrest was ordered because his website and Facebook page do not have licenses. 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”.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm