CAIRO: The lawsuit filed against Egyptian actress Rania Youssef on charges of public obscenity has been dropped, according to a statement released Monday by the lawyers involved.
The complaint was lodged by a group of lawyers in Azbakeya court on Saturday after Rania Youssef appeared at the closing ceremony of the 40th Cairo International Film Festival in a dress that revealed the entirety of her legs.
A court in Cairo fixed Jan. 12 as the date for the first hearing before the charges were dropped.
In a statement on Facebook late on Saturday, Youssef said she did not mean to offend anyone, adding that influenced by fashion experts, she may have misjudged the potential reaction to the dress. It was designed by Tunisian designer Soucha Mlihigue, who is based in Cairo.
“Out of respect for the feelings of every Egyptian family angered by the dress I wore at the closing ceremony of the Cairo International Film Festival, I would like to stress that I did not mean to cause anger among the many people who considered the dress inappropriate,” Youssef said.
“Wearing it for the first time, I didn’t expect to provoke all this anger. It is possible that I made a wrong decision.”
One of the lawyers who lodged the complaint alleged that Youssef’s dress amounted to violating public-modesty rules as laid down by Article 278 of the law. “Anyone who has publicly committed a flagrant act of indecency shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not less than six months and a fine not less than 3,000 pounds and not more than 5,000 pounds or one of these penalties,” he quoted the article as stating.
Speaking to Arab News, Majida Khairallah, an Egyptian film critic, said: “The Cairo film festival saw the screening of several good films, a number of prizes given to actors and directors and many other interesting events. But the Egyptian audience left the closing ceremony talking only about Rania Youssef’s dress, which is unacceptable.”
The controversy overshadowed the final day’s events of one of only 15 film festivals in the world to hold the highest-rated A status. Egyptian production “Poisonous Roses” and Tunisian family drama “Fatwa” were the big Arab winners.
Egyptian actor Sherif Desoky won the prize for Best Actor for his role as a taxi driver in an Egyptian-UAE co-production “EXT. Night.”