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US Embassy's Jon Stewart tweet sparks criticism from Egypt's president

The Egyptian presidential palace has sharply criticized the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for tweeting a link to a Jon Stewart "Daily Show" Monday night episode defending comedian and political satirist Bassem Youssef Tuesday evening.

In a tweet posted online by the official presidential account, the palace wrote: "It's inappropriate for a diplomatic mission to engage in such negative political propaganda."

The reaction comes a day after U.S. officials expressed concerns about freedom of speech during President Mohammed Morsi's eight-month presidency.

Late Tuesday, the palace put out a statement regarding the arrest and interrogation of Youssef, whose case has been closely watched around the world.


The comedian is accused of insulting Islam and undermining Morsi's standing.

The statement read that Youssef was summoned by the country's independent judiciary, which "operates independently from the presidency."

"The Presidency has not filed any complaint against stand-up comedian Basem Yousef," the statement read. "The Presidency reiterates the importance of freedom of expression and fully respects press freedom. All citizens are free to express themselves without the restrictions that prevailed in the era of the previous regime."

Morsi, the statement added, is determined to ensure that the media operate in a free environment.

"We urge citizens to exercise their legal right to freedom of speech while respecting the rule of law," it concluded.