Egypt jails belly dancer for debauchery in social media crackdown

Elias Hubbard
June 29, 2020

An Egyptian misdemeanour court sentenced on Saturday controversial Egyptian belly dancer Sama El-Masry to three years in prison and a EGP 300,000 fine after she was convicted of "inciting debauchery and immorality".

Cairo Misdemeanors Economic Court said el-Masry had violated Egyptian family principles and values and that she was using social media sites with the intention of committing "immorality".

John Talaat, a member of parliament, had asked for legal action against el Masry and other women as part of the crackdown on social media users.

The 42-year-old was arrested back in April following an investigation into pictures and videos that have been uploaded to social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Speaking to Reuters, Talaat claimed the influencers were destroying family values and traditions, which is banned by the country's law and constitution.

The prosecutor-general's office said earlier it received a number of complaints from citizens over El-Masry's posts.

El-Masry 42 was arrested in April during a social media crackdown
El-Masry 42 was arrested in April during a social media crackdown

In 2018, Egypt introduced a cybercrime law that allowed the government to censor the internet and conduct surveillance of communications.

El-Masry was also handed a fine of 300,000 Egyptian Pounds (R322,000). He also insisted that other TikTok and Instagram influencers, who have recently been accused of promoting "prostitution" and "debauchery" on social media and arrested in Egypt, would soon face similar sentences.

Per the Telegraph, Mr Talaat said that the other influencers now on trial are expected to receive the same prison terms as El-Masry, as they had committed the same crime.

The Egyptian government was not available for immediate comment.

Entessar el-Saeed, a women rights lawyer and head of the Cairo Center for Development and Law, says women are the only group authorities have targeted under the new law.

"Our conservative society is struggling with technological changes which have created a completely different environment and mindsets", she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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