Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that an Egyptian court sentenced two singers to a year in prison and fines over a belly dancing video that was deemed “immoral”.
The singers, Hamo Beeka and Omar Kamal were found guilty of “violating family values in Egyptian society and profiting from a video including dancing and singing” by the Alexandria Economic Court and were fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($540) and sentenced to a year in prison.
The charges originated from a video taken in October 2020 which showed Beeka and Kamal singing and dancing with a Brazilian belly dancer.
According to HRW, the conviction against Beeka and Kamal is part of a broader assault on “mahraganat” singers and artistic work deemed antagonistic to Egyptian principles, which includes restrictions on playing specific genres in public and dismissals from the Musicians’ Syndicate.
At least a dozen young women who work as social media influencers were also charged with breaking the law and have received substantial fines and prison sentences of up to five years.
“The government should announce that it will not enforce the court judgment and will take steps to repeal the cybercrime law articles criminalizing free expression.” said HRW.
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