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Egypt belly dancer detained on charges of debauchery

Sama El-Masry [samaelmasrii/Instagram]
Sama El-Masry, 4 October 2019 [samaelmasrii/Instagram]

A belly dancer has been detained in Egypt on charges of debauchery and immorality after allegedly posting indecent videos on social media.

The complaint against Sama El-Masry was filed by the controversial TV host Reham Saeed, who has previously been suspended for fat shaming Egyptians.

In 2019 Saeed was banned from her show for a year after saying “you lose part of your femininity if you are fat. They are burdens on their families and on the state and are an eyesore.”

Saeed accused El-Masry of libel and slander after the dancer criticised the presenter; in the past she also supported her suspension and said she was only fit for being a maid.

READ: Egypt social media influencer Haneen Hussam accused of ‘debauchery’ after viral TikTok video

El-Masry has defended herself, saying that she did not post the videos and that they were taken from her phone which was stolen last year and edited and manipulated before being posted online.

El-Masry is well known for using her TV channel feloul to publicly criticise key figures, including the controversial, pro-government Zamalek President Mortada Mansour, which in 2015 led to her being issued a sentence of six months in prison and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($635).

In 2018 an Egyptian lawyer filed a case against her for offending religious sentiment after she released a Ramadan promo video announcing she would host a religious programme during the holy month.

In the past, El-Masry released a series of videos critiquing the Muslim Brotherhood and former US President Barack Obama.

READ: As a month of mercy begins across the world, no respite for Egyptians

Her arrest comes not long after the detention of Cairo University student Haneen Hassan, who was also arrested on charges of debauchery after posting a video on TikTok calling on women to set up a live feed in exchange for money to help promote a video platform she had set up.

Despite the fact that Haneen specified all videos should be decent, she was accused of prostitution by a TV presenter working on a state-run show.

Social media users commenting on Haneen’s arrest criticised authorities for making a show of its hardline views in order to crackdown on certain people and gain popularity. The current government has gone to great lengths to crackdown on any form of free speech.

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