Lebanese tourist sentenced to 8 years in prison for complaining of sexual harassment and calling Egypt ‘dirty’
An Egyptian court sentenced on Saturday a Lebanese woman to eight years in prison over insulting Egyptians in a video she posted online, and set July 29 as the date for her appeal.
Mona el-Mazbouh was initially handed down 11 years but the sentence was later reduced to eight. It was unclear why the sentence was reduced. She was also fined 10,700 Egyptian pounds (around $598).
She was charged with “deliberately broadcasting false rumors which aim to undermine society and attack religions.”
The sentence comes after she posted a 10-minute video in which she described her vacation in Cairo, where she was sexually harassed. She calls Egyptians the “dirtiest people” and Egypt “the country of pimps … of beggars.”
El-Mazbouh later posted an apology video, saying “I definitely didn’t mean to offend all Egyptians.” She was arrested in May before departing from Cairo.
Earlier in May, authorities arrested Egyptian activist Amal Fathy after she posted a video online in which she also lashing out at the state after a negative experience in and outside a local bank branch. She railed against what she described as the country’s deteriorating public services and unchallenged sexual harassment. She has since remained in custody.
Amnesty International has called Fathy’s arrest a “new low in Egypt’s crackdown on freedom of expression” and, along with other rights groups, has called for her release.
In June, Egypt’s parliament initially approved a bill placing social media accounts, blogs and websites with more than 5,000 followers under the supervision of the country’s top media regulatory body, which can take measures that include blocking them if they are found to be disseminating false news, inciting violence or violating the law.
A final reading of the bill has yet to take place before its ratified by the president.