A court in Egypt has sentenced actress Sama el-Masry to three years behind bars. She has also been fined about $18,500 for promoting ‘debauchery’ with saucy online posts.
Sama el-Masry, 42, has repeatedly clashed with her country’s conservatism and has now been accused of creating sexually suggestive content on online platforms like TikTok.
The court in the Egyptian capital Cairo, also been ordered to pay $18,500 as the country clamps down on social media content.
The dancer has said she will appeal despite facing a barrage of criticism from politicians and pro-government TV hosts. She denies the charges and claims the content in question was stolen from her phone and shared without her consent.
A court in the capital Cairo accused her of violating family values and using her social media accounts to commit “immortality.”
Even politicians have waded in with MP John Talaat saying of Ms El-Masry and other female TikTok users that “there is a huge difference between freedom and debauchery.”
The legal action comes after Egypt created a cybercrime law in 2018 giving the government the ability to censor the internet and exercise communication surveillance.
Other female social media stars have fallen foul of this new legislation and been targeted by authorities. Mr Talaat said those influencers could expect the same punishment as Ms El-Masry if they have committed the same offence.
Woman’s rights lawyer Entessar el-Saeed criticised the law for unfairly singling out females.
“Our conservative society is struggling with technological changes, which have created a completely different environment and mindsets,” she told the Thomas Reuters Foundation.
This is not the first time Egyptian women have been hauled to court after challenging the country’s conservatism.
Actress Rania Youssef was charged with public obscenity in 2018 after a controversial choice of dress for the Cairo film festival.
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