Egyptian Belly Dancer Sama el-Masry Jailed for ‘Debaucherous’ TikToks

Egypt’s highly conservative society is struggling to cope with the freedom of expression new social media platforms like TikTok permit women.

  • By externalwire | June 28, 2020,2:09 pm
Egyptian Belly Dancer Sama el-Masry Jailed for ‘Debaucherous’ TikToks

A Cairo court handed controversial Egyptian dancer and TV star Sama el-Masry a three-year jail sentence on Saturday after finding her guilty of “inciting debauchery and immorality.”

El-Masry is one of a slew of female Egyptian Instagram and TikTok stars caught up in a recent government crackdown and detained on charges of “inciting debauchery and immorality” and “promoting prostitution.” 

The 40-year-old belly dancer was first arrested on April 23 after her fellow citizens, including rival TV presenter Reham Saheed, reported a number of “sexually suggestive” videos to police. El-Masry’s initial four-day detention was renewed a number of times in the lead up to her trial, which took place in Cairo’s  Economic Misdemeanors Court on June 27. 

The judge convicted el-Masry of violating Egyptian society’s morals by posting immoral pictures and videos and sentenced her to three years prison, fined her EGP 300,000 ($18,560), and ordered surveillance against her for three years. 

Egypt’s highly conservative society is struggling to cope with the freedom of expression new social media platforms like TikTok permit women, and the government has not shied away from using far-reaching internet censorship laws to lock controversial women up.

“[These laws] condemn people for their behavior that may not conform to imagined social standards for how to be a ‘good citizen’ and a respectful woman,” Egyptian feminist Ghadeer Ahmed said in defense of el-Masry in April. 

Conservative lawmaker John Talaat disagrees, saying “there is a huge difference between freedom and debauchery,” in response to el-Masry’s conviction. 

Talaat has led the charge against “immoral” influencers like el-Masry and fellow TikTok star  

Haneen Hossam, who found herself in hot water for posting videos offering women a way to make money in exchange for creating social media content. 

Talaat told the Reuters Thomson Foundation that they are a threat to Egypt’s family values and traditions while engaging in conduct illegal in the North African country. 

El-Masry strongly denies the charges and argues the viral content came from a stolen phone and was posted as part of a campaign against her for her political views. In 2015, the outspoken dancer and influential television presenter was convicted for criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood during its short one-year reign. 

Read also: Egypt Cracks Down on Female TikTok Stars for Alleged ‘Debauchery’

Related Articles

Egypt's Peace Plan for Libya Gains Ground in Arab World
Egypt’s Peace Plan for Libya Gains Ground in Arab World

The first step of the plan calls for the implementation of a ceasefire on June 8 and the expulsion of all foreign militia from Libya. It would also see militias disbanded and military authority handed back to the Haftar-led LNA.  

50,000 COVID-19 Cases in Egypt Amid Plans to Restart Tourism
50,000 COVID-19 Cases in Egypt Amid Plans to Restart Tourism

During a growing epidemic, Egypt aims to restart its vital tourism sector.

France Deems Turkish Ambitions in Libya 'Unacceptable'
France Deems Turkish Ambitions in Libya ‘Unacceptable’

Turkish ships block UN inspection, prompting a French diplomatic response.

UN, GNA Respond to ‘Cairo Declaration’ on Libya Crisis
UN, GNA Respond to ‘Cairo Declaration’ on Libya Crisis

Despite Haftar and Saleh’s apparently genuine commitment to a ceasefire and political solution to the conflict, it seems that the GNA, led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj and backed by Turkish troops and Qatari funds, is much more interested in territorial gains than sparing civilian lives or securing a peaceful future for Libya.