Egypt jails belly dancer over 'debauchery' charges amid social media crackdown

Egypt jails belly dancer over 'debauchery' charges amid social media crackdown
An Egyptian belly dancer was sentenced to three years in prison, the latest conviction amid an ongoing crackdown on female social media stars.
2 min read
28 June, 2020
Sama El-Masry said the content in question was leaked from her phone [Getty]
Famed Egyptian belly dancer Sama El-Masry was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 300,000 Egyptian pounds on Saturday over charges of 'inciting debauchery' and 'immorality' amid a wider crackdown on social media posts, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported.

Cairo's misdemeanours economic court said El-Masry had violated Egyptian family principles and values, as well as established, managed, and used social media sites and accounts to commit "immorality", according to the report.

El-Masry, 42, was arrested in April as part of an investigation into posts on social media networks, including TikTok.

Though the nature of El-Masry's social media content has not yet been specified, she denied the accusations and said the content was leaked from her phone, according to the report. She said she would appeal the conviction.

A supporter of Egypt's government, Al-Masry had previously joined a 2016 national campaign led by pro-government religious figures to encourage morality among Egyptians.

This year has seen a number of arrests of Egypt's female social media stars.

TikTok and Instagram influencer Haneen Hossam was arrested in April by Egypt's interior ministry for "inciting debauchery" and "violating public morals" after Hossam posted a video promoting a work opportunity for women to create social media content.

Social media influencer Mowada Al-Adham was arrested on similar charges last month.

Also last month, 17-year-old social media star Menna Abdelaziz posted a tearful video with a battered face stating 25-year-old fellow influencer Mazen Ibrahem beat and raped her. She said a female friend filmed the assault and shared the footage on social media.

Abdelaziz was subsequently arrested by Egyptian authorities, along with six other people. The young girl faced charges of "inciting debauchery" and "violating Egyptian family values".

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