Lebanese tourist sentenced to 8 years in prison for Facebook post against Egypt

Mona El-Mazboh was arrested at Cairo airport at the end of her stay in Egypt after insulting the country in a 10-minute viral video. ( screen grab of the footage)
Updated 07 July 2018

Lebanese tourist sentenced to 8 years in prison for Facebook post against Egypt

  • Mona El-Mazboh was arrested at Cairo airport at the end of her stay in Egypt after insulting the country in a 10-minute viral video
  • A Cairo court found her guilty of deliberately spreading false rumors that would harm society

CAIRO: An Egyptian court sentenced on Saturday a Lebanese woman to at least eight years in prison over insulting Egyptians in a video she posted online, and set July 29 as the date for her appeal, state media reported.
Mona El-Mazbouh was initially handed down 11 years but the sentence was later reduced to eight, the state-run Al-Ahram news agency reported. It was unclear why the sentence was reduced. She was also fined 10,700 Egyptian pounds (around $598).
She was charged with “deliberately broadcasting false rumors which aim to undermine society and attack religions.”
The sentence comes after she posted a 10-minute video in which she used profanities to describe her vacation in Cairo where she says she was sexually harassed. She calls Egyptians the “dirtiest people” and Egypt “the country of pimps ... of beggars.”
El-Mazbouh later posted an apology video, saying “I definitely didn’t mean to offend all Egyptians.” She was arrested in May before departing from Cairo.
Earlier in May, authorities arrested Egyptian activist Amal Fathy after she posted a video online in which she also lashing out at the state after a negative experience in and outside a local bank branch. Also using curses, she railed against what she described as the country’s deteriorating public services and unchallenged sexual harassment. She has since remained in custody.
Amnesty International has called Fathy’s arrest a “new low in Egypt’s crackdown on freedom of expression” and, along with other rights groups, has called for her release.
In June, Egypt’s parliament initially approved a bill placing social media accounts, blogs and websites with more than 5,000 followers under the supervision of the country’s top media regulatory body, which can take measures that include blocking them if they are found to be disseminating false news, inciting violence or violating the law.
A final reading of the bill has yet to take place before its ratified by the president.


Former Arab League chief: youth driving Middle East change against bad governments

Updated 10 min 36 sec ago

Former Arab League chief: youth driving Middle East change against bad governments

  • Amr Moussa says the region will change dramatically again over next five years
  • Aspirations of young people driving calls for change against bad management

DAVOS: Young people in the Middle East are continuing to drive change in the region against “bad governments,” the former Arab League chief said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Arab News at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Amr Moussa, who was the Arab League’s secretary general from 2001 to 2011, said the Middle East will go through major changes in the next five years.

The changes will take place “thanks to the young people, thanks to their aspirations, thanks to the 21st Century, and thanks to the changes that have taken place as a result of these uprisings,” he said.

Over the past three months, the region has witnessed predominantly youth-driven protests in Iraq and Lebanon. Demonstrators have railed against the political elites, called for improved services and an end to sectarian systems of government. Large demonstrations have also taken place in Iran against the clerical regime, and last year huge protests in Sudan and Algeria brought an end to long-serving authoritarian rulers.

“The uprisings or the revolutions against the bad governments, the bad management of the citizens, of the people, and that’s why this is going on,” Moussa, who was also Egypt’s foreign minister from 1991 until 2001, said. “It is also because of the aspirations to change, this is the 21st century, the young people aspire to so many new things. They want movement, motion, change, these are also very legitimate aspirations.

“We haven’t achieved much yet but the Middle East is going through change.”

Moussa’s tenure at the Arab League ended as the Arab Spring uprisings rocked the region, bringing down governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, and sparking conflicts in Syria and Libya.

Since October, around 460 people have been killed and another 25,000 wounded in Iraq amid a brutal response to the protests by the security forces. In Lebanon, three people have been killed and hundreds injured, with violence peaking at the weekend.