Egyptian Cartoonist Released Without Charges
Copies of Gawish's first comic book, Al-Warqa (al-Warqa/Facebook). Thumbnail: Gawish with his second comic book, Al-Warqa II, which was released recently (al-Warqa/Facebook).
CAIRO—Egyptian prosecutors ordered the release of cartoonist Islam Gawish today. No charges were filed against him.
Gawish was arrested yesterday while working in the Egypt News Network offices. The young artist runs the Facebook page al-Warqa, “The Paper,” which satirizes social and political issues through cartoons. It has garnered more than 1.5 million likes. In a statement posted on the page following Gawish’s arrest, al-Warqa announced a temporary suspension of all artwork.
Gawish faced questions this morning regarding the accusation that he published without a license on al-Warqa, lawyer Mahmoud Osman told Aswat Masriya. The prosecution initially suggested that the Facebook page might be considered a news website, which would entail additional legal requirements governing its operation. However, the inquiry revealed that Gawish’s work on al-Warqa could only be categorized as artistic and technical, Osman said. Osman, who is also a lawyer at the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression, was among those present with Gawish at the prosecutor's office.
Update: As of February 4, 2016, al-Warqa has resumed publishing cartoons.
A version of this article was originally published in Aswat Masriya.