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Published On: Fri, Feb 9th, 2018

Egypt arrets Russian belly dancer over alleged “incitement to debauchery”

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nsnbc : Egyptian authorities have arrested the Russian belly dancer Ekaterina Andreeva a.k.a. Gawahara (jewel in Arabic) after a video showing her “scantily-dressed” went viral, said Egyptian security sources. Andreeva will reportedly be deported. Egyptian authorities regularly target female dancers and other artists for alleged incitement to debauchery and other alleged “crimes”. Incitement to debauchery can be punishable by one year hard labor in prison.

Ekaterina Andreeva_Russia_Egypt_Belly Dancer_(archive) 2018Andreeva is being held at a Cairo police station. She shall, reportedly, be deported to Russia on Saturday. The video, widely shared online, shows her performing a “sensual dance” in a Cairo club and wearing a “revealing lace dress”.

Authorities also accused her of not having proper documents to allow her working in Egypt. Andreeva’s lawyer Mohammed Salah denied the accusations against Andreeva in a statement to private Dream television station.

Authorities under the presidency of Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi have cracked down on several renown artists in Egypt using a wide-ranging cohort of “morality laws”, in what many analysts describe as “a desperate attempt by the Al-Sisi administration to cater to Islamists” in the country, considering that the Muslim Brotherhood may have been politically defeated and outlawed, but that its presence permeates every aspect of the country’s political elite, the administration, parliament, security services, culture and social fabric as a whole.

Shyma, a 21-year-old Egyptian, was sentenced to two years in prison in December 2017 over a music video clip. She was arrested after appearing in a video showing her in a mock classroom licking an apple and appearing to mimic fellatio on a banana in front of a chalkboard scrawled with “Class#69″.

Egyptian Comic Actress Entissar - Courtesy YOUM7

Egyptian Comic Actress Entissar – Courtesy YOUM7

In 2015, a court jailed a female dancer to a year in prison for “inciting debauchery” in a raunchy music video for a song called “Let Go of My Hand”. Also in 2015 a court accepted a lawsuit against Entissar, an actress, for endorsing pornography.

It was argued that it was inciting debauchery because in Egypt Muslim and Christian men and women alike are expected to remain abstinent until they get married.

Ironically, the most populous Arab state is one of the most countries that restrict explicit content, but is also reportedly one of the most that consumes online porn. The case against Entissar was dropped in January 2016.

In July 2015 two Egyptian belly dancers were sentenced to four days in prison pending investigations over charges of “inciting debauchery.”



Both dancers, Shakera, 28, and Bardis, 29, were arrested at two different night clubs after a number of lawyers had filed complaints that the two had produced sexually suggestive video clips.

Under enquiries conducted by the Public Morality Department of the Ministry of Interior, both dancers did not introduce “an artistic act but debauched act.”

In June 2015 another belly dancer, Reda al-Fouly, was sentenced to one year in jail on charges of “inciting debauchery” when she appeared in a video talking about girls who like to be harassed in the Cairo metro.

On June 28, 2015 Reda was sentenced to  one year of hard labor in prison and another year under police surveillance for the said charge.

Reda El-Fouly During Her Trial - YOUM7/Islam Osama

Reda El-Fouly During Her Trial - YOUM7/Islam Osama

In July 2015 the Agouza Misdemeanors Court reduced the one-year sentence against Reda el-Fouly over “inciting debauchery” charges to six month. Rights activists denounced both the full and the reduced sentence as arbitrary. The court also reduced the one-year prison sentence of the cameraman Ramadan Rizk to three months.

Involved in the case wass an American-Egyptian director Wael Elsedeki who, on June 28, was also sentenced in absentia to one year in prison. Elsediki travelled to Tunisia shortly after the clip started to stir controversy; meanwhile, Fouly was arrested at a café in Cairo’s district of Mohandeseen.

Dubbed as “Hands off,” the video has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube. It is about a girl who apparently enjoys being “harassed” in Cairo’s busy metro.

The list of female dancers and actors being targeted in Egypt, for what  most liberal countries would perceive as perfectly harmless art and demeanor could be continued ad infinitum.

CH/L – nsnbc 09.02.2018

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