Egyptian woman, director jailed 1 year over ‘debauchery’ in Youtube video
Snapshot from 'Let Go of My Hand' video clip

CAIRO: Reda el-Fouly, a woman who danced suggestively in a May an amateur YouTube song wearing a low cut dress, was sentenced to a year of hard labor in prison for “inciting debauchery,” Youm7 reported Sunday.

Agouza Misdemeanor Court also sentenced the Egyptian-American director of the song, Wael Elsedeki, to the same prison term. The ruling can be appealed.

“The law is applied to the powerless, the vulnerable and those who have no [influential] contacts to turn to,” Elsediki wrote on his Facebook page after the ruling was issued.

Posted on May 18, the video triggered a controversy among users of social networks as it showed Fouly in a strappy dress suggestively belly-dancing and shaking her breasts at the camera in close-up.

The video, which has been viewed more than 1.8 times on Youtube, is about a girl who enjoys being harassed in Cairo’s busy metro.

On May 12, Elsedeki, who also appeared in the clip, posted an audio-only version of the song, dubbed “hands off,” while three days earlier, he posted an ad on his Facebook account seeking a woman “with a nice voice to record a duet with me, she must be from Cairo with a good sense of humor and good appearance.”

Elsediki travelled to Tunisia shortly after the clip started to stir controversy; meanwhile, Fouly was arrested at a café in Cairo’s district of Mohandeseen.

Fouly testified that she thought she was in an acting test, and did not know the clip was going to be produced in that manner or that it would be posted online. Elsedeki told Dream TV Tuesday that Fouly’s statements were not true, and that she knew they were shooting a clip to be posted on YouTube.

Meanwhile, Fouly’s lawyer claimed the video is highly-edited and that she was not the same woman in many of the clip’s scenes.

Elsediki has argued that his aim behind the video was fame, as Egypt’s film industry is “monopolized.”

“I have made history regardless what the court ruling would be. I am the first person to be tried over uploading a video clip that does not involve religion or politics,” Elsediki wrote on Facebook Saturday.

He added that he has already booked his Tunis-Cairo air ticket, returning to Egypt July 2.

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