Egypt, dancer, Sama el-Masry

Egyptian dancer sentenced to 3 years in prison

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced a high-profile belly dancer to three years in prison for inciting debauchery on social media.

Actress, singer and dancer Sama el-Masry, 42, was also fined 300,000 Egyptian pounds ($18,500). She denies the allegations and intends to appeal the decision.

Her sentencing came amid a crackdown by Egyptian authorities on social media, Reuters reported.

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.”

“There is a huge difference between freedom and debauchery,” said John Talaat, a member of parliament who had pushed for legal action against her and other women on TikTok, according to the report.

Female TikTok users and Instagram personalities have been arrested in Egypt in recent months on charges of promoting debauchery and prostitution on social media, the report said.

Taaat said they were expected to receive the same sentence as el-Masry.

El-Masry was arrested in April during an investigation into videos and photos posted on social media that prosecutors have denounced as sexually aggressive, Reuters reported.

The prosecutor-general’s office said it had received complaints about el-Masry, according to a report from Egypt Today. She claimed the images were taken from her phone that was stolen in June 2019.

El-Masry further claimed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood had reported her to authorities because she had mocked the group in 2012 when Mohamed Morsi, affiliated with the Brotherhood, was president of Egypt, the Egypt Today report said.

Under a 2018 cyber crime law Egyptian authorities can censor the internet and carry out surveillance of communications.

Story by Reuters

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