Mohamed El-Mallah was interrogated by prosecutors after he appeared as a guest in an episode of a TV show aired on MBC Masr satellite channel in October in which he claimed that he had married and later divorced 33 women over the past two years with the purpose of enabling those women to reunite with their ex-spouses.
The remarks caused public uproar as it considered a circumvention of Islamic rulings governing marriage. Under Sharia (Islamic law), couples cannot remarry if they divorced three times on three different occasion.
However, if the woman weds another man afterward in a consummated marriage and this marriage ends in divorce or the death of the second husband, only then she can return to her former spouse.
It is forbidden in Islam to arrange intermediate marriages in which a man – a Mohalal husband – marries a divorced woman merely for the purpose of making it religiously permissible for her to remarry her first husband.
In his controversial TV remarks, El-Mallah said he only receives pre-arranged marriages requests through common friends or acquaintances and for free.
However, the prosecution said the country's the Civil Status Sector, a government body responsible for registering marriage and divorce certificates, has proved that El-Mallah's claims about marrying 33 women were incorrect.
The defendant walked back his televised remarks during the investigation, alleging that they were made up in agreement with the TV show's producer, who was also interrogated.
The producer denied El-Mallah's accusations and provided the investigators with screenshots of online conversations with him to refute the charges.
The prosecution accused El-Mallah with "spreading false news, disturbing the public peace and harming the public interest, and violating family principles and values of Egyptian society, as well as creating a social media account with the aim of committing the crimes.
Despite Muslim-majority Egypt witnessing high rates of divorce in recent years, the number of divorce certificates in Egypt declined by 5.3 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the latest statistics issued by Egypt’s statistical news agency CAPMAS.