Actress Menna Shalaby to face trial on charge of substance abuse

Jehad El-Sayed , Wednesday 21 Dec 2022

Well-known Egyptian actress Menna Shalaby has been referred to the criminal court on charges of possessing controlled narcotics with the intent of using them. The drugs had been found in her luggage at Cairo International Airport last month.

Menna Shalaby
File Photo: Actress Menna Shalaby during a photo session.


Shalaby, 40, who is one of the best-known Egyptian actresses of her generation, grabbed headlines over the past weeks after she was stopped on 25 November by airport authorities for finding suspected substances in her luggage.

After being interrogated by the prosecution, she was released hours later on EGP 50,000 bail pending investigation, with the prosecution ordering the seized substances to be tested.

The prosecution's new statement, which comes nearly one month after the incident, charged the actress with "possessing hash narcotic with the intent of using it without legal authorisation."

The case, said the prosecution, centred on five testimonies of the airport workers who inspected the actress's luggage, on police investigations and on the recordings of the surveillance cameras at the place where Shalaby was stopped by the airport authorities.

In addition, the prosecution said that the assigned chemical laboratory's examination of the seized substances proved that they "contained two narcotics –  namely hash and cannabis – both of which fall under the Drug Schedule I of the country's drugs law."

Shalaby, who denied the charges during the prosecution inquiry, was returning from the US when the substances were found by the Egyptian customs authorities in her luggage.

A picture of the actress's passport showing her personal information was widely circulated alongside another picture reportedly showing the suspected narcotics after being confiscated by the authorities.

As a result, the Egyptian Actors Syndicate urged the media and the public to avoid jumping to conclusions before the prosecution completes its investigation and called for respecting Shalaby's privacy.

The date of the first session of the trial is yet to determined.

In 2021, Shalaby was the first-ever Egyptian actor to receive an Emmy International nomination for her performance in the crime mini-series Every Week Has a Friday

Shalaby made her debut on TV two decades ago in the series Morning and Evening Talk in 2001, which is based on a story by Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz.

She made her silver screen debut in 2001 with a role in the late Radwan Al-Kashef’s The Magician.

Since then, Shalaby has worked with many renowned Egyptian directors and stars.

Among Shalaby's most significant appearances was in the film Nawara directed by Hala Khalil, which brought her a record of 10 best actress awards.

Shalaby described her role in Nawara as the role of her lifetime and one of the most important artistic endeavours in her career.

For her score of achievements, Shalaby was honoured with the FatenHamama Excellence Award at the last 41st Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) in 2019.

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