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.


Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

Updated 17 min 23 sec ago

Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

  • Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raid

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that there was not yet full agreement on holding a proposed March 5 summit with Russia, France and Germany on the conflict in Syria’s Idlib, but he may meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin on that date.
Syrian government forces are pushing to retake the last large rebel-held region in Syria after nine years of war and nearly a million Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the fighting since early December.
At a news conference in Ankara before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan, Erdogan said that a Russian delegation was set to come to Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the Idlib situation.
“There is no full agreement yet between (French President Emmanuel) Macron ... (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel, and Putin,” he said. Macron and Merkel have both urged Putin to end the conflict, concerned about the humanitarian situation.
On Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey had set out a “road map” for Syria after calls with the three leaders, while the Kremlin has said it was discussing the possibility of holding a four-way summit.
Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raids and 17 members of the Turkish forces have been killed. Turkey already hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot handle another wave and has closed its borders.