Inciting debauchery: Lawsuits dropped against actress over racy dress
By Agence France-Presse
Lawsuits filed against an Egyptian actress for wearing a see-through dress have been withdrawn after she made a public apology, two lawyers who brought cases against her said Wednesday.
Rania Youssef was accused of “inciting debauchery” last week after appearing at the closing session of the Cairo International Film Festival wearing a revealing black lacy dress that showed her legs.
“We have withdrawn this morning the complaint we filed against Rania Youssef,” lawyer Amer Abdelsalam told AFP.
The 45-year-old actress was set to appear in court on January 12 to face separate lawsuits brought by Abdelsalam and Samir Sabri, known for lodging similar complaints against other public figures, among others.
Her case has sparked controversy in Egypt and touched off a heated debate on social media over “public decency” and whether wearing a revealing outfit warrants jail time.
The uproar pushed Youssef to apologise, telling local media she did not expect such strong a reaction and would not have worn the outfit if she knew it would provoke such outrage.
Youssef said Wednesday on Facebook that she had been to the public prosecutor’s office for a four-hour long investigation and was then released.
“The investigation is still ongoing,” she added.
Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) said international media coverage of Youssef’s case “exaggerated some negative practises pertaining to personal freedoms in Egypt”.
Media outlets “based (their) conclusions solely on the initial developments of the crisis instead of pausing to see how it will transpire and eventually end,” said the state body, which regulates foreign media.
The SIS confirmed lawsuits against Youssef had been withdrawn.
Egypt is a largely conservative society.
Earlier this year, prosecutors detained a female singer for four days for “incitement to debauchery” after an online video clip which includes sensual oriental dances and suggestive gestures went viral.
Last year another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges, also over a video deemed provocative. Her sentence was reduced to a year on appeal.