Egypt court upholds sentence against belly dancer Safinaz for insulting flag

Ahram Online , Saturday 4 Jul 2015

An Egyptian court has upheld a six-month prison sentence against Armenian belly dancer Sofinar Gourian for 'insulting the Egyptian flag' by wearing its colours as a dancing costume

Circulated photo on Social Media Networks shows Armenian belly dancer Safinar wearing a dancing suit with the Egyptian flag print

A Giza court on Saturday upheld a six-month prison sentence against Cairo-based Armenian belly dancer Sofinar Gourian, popularly known as Safinaz, for "insulting the Egyptian flag" by wearing its colours as a dancing costume.

The court also upheld the LE15,000 (around $1,966) fine against the belly dancer.

The verdict can still be appealed for the last time in front of the Court of Cassation.

The verdict was handed down in absentia.

It is still unclear if Safinaz will be arrested or if she will be issued a bail until the Court of Cassation gives its final verdict.

A businesswoman and hotel owner in Giza's Mohandiseen filed a report against the dancer for wearing a costume fashioned from the Egyptian flag during a performance in Ain Sokhna, east of the capital.

A law passed in June 2014 imposes jail terms and fines on anyone who "insults" the national flag.

Insults include raising, displaying or trading a flag if it is damaged, washed out or not suitable for display in any other way.

The law also prohibits adding slogans, designs or pictures to the flag.

Since her arrival in Egypt over two years ago, Safinaz has become an immediate success amongst belly dance lovers, with appearances in several Egyptian films, as well as performances at prestigious weddings. 

The artist is married to an Egyptian and has expressed her wish to spend her entire life in Egypt.

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