Middle East

HRW calls on Egypt to free members of satirical street group

  • Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, displays an old map of Egypt including the two disputed Red Sea islands, during a press conference, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. An Egyptian court has rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, displays an old map of Egypt including the two disputed Red Sea islands, during a press conference, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. An Egyptian court has rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali points to photos of jailed activists, who were arrested during protests over two disputed Red Sea islands, during a press conference, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. An Egyptian court has rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali points to photos of jailed activists, who were arrested during protests over two disputed Red Sea islands, during a press conference, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. An Egyptian court has rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, center, speaks during a press conference on two disputed Red Sea islands, at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. An Egyptian court has rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, center, speaks during a press conference on two disputed Red Sea islands, at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. An Egyptian court has rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

Human Rights Watch is calling on Egypt's government to release from detention four members of a satirical street group who posted video clips on social media that mocked President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and called on him to step down.

Five of the group's six members were detained in May, but one was later released on bail. The sixth member has gone into hiding. They are accused of using social media networks to undermine Egypt's stability, spreading false news and inciting protests.

"This kind of blanket repression leaves young people with few outlets to express themselves or joke about their daily hardships," Nadim Houry of the New York-based rights advocacy group said in a statement on Thursday.

El-Sissi's government has eroded many of the freedoms won by Egypt's 2011 popular uprising.