Egyptian actress Rania Youssef is facing a jail sentence for ‘inciting debauchery’ after she wore a revealing dress at a function. Even though she has apologised for wearing the controversial dress, this may not be enough to end her ordeal.
A visibly shaken Rania said, “I would like to tell my audience that what happened was totally unintentional. If I have made a mistake, please forgive me. I am a human being at the end of the day…All of us are. I am sorry and I love you.”
Youssef had worn the controversial see-through outfit at teh Cairo Film Festival in November last year. Her dress provoked criticism in a socially conservative country. Soon a laqsuit was filed against her, accusing her of inciting debauchery. Among those lawyers who made the complaint was lawyer Samir Sabry. He has filed hundreds of similar lawsuits in the past.
He told MBC MASR TV, “Freedom of expression has its limits. Creativity has its limits too. There is a huge difference between freedom of expression and immorality. Not every work can be called a creative work of art. So any criticism of measures taken against it should not be considered as an infringement of freedom of expression.”
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Before filing a lawsuit against Rania, Sabry had also targeted another actress in the past for the same reason. In 2017, a popular singer Shyma was sentenced to two years in jail for recording a music video that showed her eating a banana in a suggestive manner.
Sabry has dropped his complained after Youssef apologised, but this is not enough for public prosecutors in Cairo as they continued to investigate the actress.
The development has divided the opinion in Egypt with some calling the judiciary’s step against Rania too harsh. However, others said that Rania needed to be punished for tarnishing Egypt’s image abroad. One female local resident said, “This tarnishes Egypt’s reputation. When an Egyptian actress puts on a dress like this, the world will judge Egypt based on what she wears because she is very well known.” A male resident disagreed and said, “We are giving more importance to what’s a very light story. We should focus on more important issues such as why people are not able to afford a proper life.”