A Lebanese tourist who was arrested last month for posting a video on Facebook complaining of sexual harassment and conditions in Egypt was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Cairo court on Saturday, her lawyer told Reuters.
Mona el-Mazboh was arrested at Cairo airport at the end of her stay in Egypt after a 10-minute video in which she called Egypt a “son of a bitch country” went viral on social media.
The 24-year-old Mazboh complains of being sexually harassed by taxi drivers and young men in the street, as well as poor restaurant service during the holy month of Ramadan and an incident in which money was stolen from her during a previous stay.
Of course, God willing, the verdict will change. With all due respect to the judiciary, this is a severe ruling. It is in the context of the law, but the court was applying the maximum penalty.
A Cairo court found her guilty of deliberately spreading false rumours that would harm society, attacking religion, and public indecency, judicial sources said.
Verdict to be appealed
An appeal court will now hear the case on July 29, according to Mazboh’s lawyer, Emad Kamal.
“Of course, God willing, the verdict will change. With all due respect to the judiciary, this is a severe ruling. It is in the context of the law, but the court was applying the maximum penalty,” he said.
Kamal said a surgery Mazboh underwent in 2006 to remove a brain clot has impaired her ability to control anger, a condition documented in a medical report he submitted to the court. She also suffers from depression, he said.
Egyptian rights activists say they face the worst crackdown in their history under Sisi, accusing him of erasing freedoms won in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
Supporters say such measures are needed to stabilise Egypt after years of turmoil that drove away foreign investors and amid an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula.