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Egyptian actor Rania Youssef charged with public obscenity after wearing 'revealing' dress at film festival

Star faces up to five years in prison if convicted 

Zamira Rahim
Sunday 02 December 2018 12:17 GMT
Egyptian actor Rania Youssef charged with public obscenity after wearing 'revealing' dress at film festival

An Egyptian actor could face up to five years in prison if found guilty of public obscenity for wearing a see-through dress that revealed her legs.

Rania Youssef, an actor and model known for her roles in Egyptian films and television shows, attended the closing ceremony of a film festival in Cairo wearing the black dress, which had a gauze skirt.

Her appearance at the event on Thursday caused instant debate on social media.

Users were divided, with some subjecting Ms Youssef to abuse, and others defending her right to wear the dress.

Following the uproar, a group of lawyers complained to Egypt’s chief prosecutor about her appearance and she was subsequently charged with public obscenity.

“I would like to apologise again, as an actress with good and positive credit with my fans,” the 44-year-old said, in a statement posted on Twitter.

“I hope everyone can understand that I had good intentions and did not wish to anger anyone.”

She added she had not expected her outfit to cause so much anger.

Ms Youssef’s trial will begin on 12 January 2019 and if convicted she faces up to five years in prison.

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Some 100 million people live in Egypt, the majority of whom are Muslim. While the country has retained some aspects of secularism, the nation has also experienced decades of growing religious conservatism.

Fundamentalism also continues to influence the state, five years after Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist president, was ousted by the military following mass protests against his rule.

Ms Youssef is the latest public figure to face obscenity charges in Egypt.

In 2017 Shyma, an Egyptian pop singer whose real name is Shaimaa Ahmed, was sentenced to two years in prison for “inciting debauchery”, after she posted a suggestive music video online.

Shakira and Bardis, two bellydancers, were also jailed for six months in 2015 for inciting debauchery and immorality in their music videos.

Additional reporting by agencies

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