Actor Faces Prison Time for Red Carpet Dress

Egyptian prosecutors file charges
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2018 2:26 PM CST

(Newser) – Two Egyptian lawyers are taking an actress to court for the lacy, partly transparent outfit she wore on the red carpet in Cairo last week, the New York Times reports. Rania Youssef, who's in her forties, could get five years in prison for her garb. "It was the first time that I wore it and I did not realize it would spark so much anger," she wrote in a social media post, per the BBC. "I reaffirm my commitment to the values upon which we were raised in Egyptian society." Samir Sabri, one of the lawyers who brought the case, says her outfit "did not meet societal values, traditions and morals" and undermined "the reputation of Egyptian women."

Youssef is not alone: Singer Shaimaa Ahmed got a year-long sentence on appeal for suggestively biting a banana in a music video, and singer Laila Amer got two years for appearing in a video that a court deemed suggestive, per the Daily Mail. Such prosecutions are helping to set the tone under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whose authoritarian rule has included "a chilling effect on free speech" and "a harsh crackdown on the gay community," per the Times. As for Youssef's dress, it sparked a Twitter war with advocates on both sides. "She, and whoever let her appear like this, must be put on trial," tweets one person, while director Amr Salama tweeted, "The dress has only exposed your obsession." (Read more Egypt stories.)

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