Armenian belly dancer Safinaz sentenced to 6 months for “insulting” the Egypt flag

Egypt-based Armenian belly dancer Sofinar (popularly known as Safinaz) was sentenced on Monday to six months in prison for “insulting the Egyptian flag” by wearing its colours as a dancing costume, Ahram Online reports.

She was also fined LE15,000 (around $1,966).

The verdict can be appealed.

Meanwhile, Safinaz will avoid prison by paying an LE10,000 (around $1,310) bail.

A businesswoman and hotel owner in Mohandiseen filed a report against the dancer for wearing a costume fashioned from the Egyptian flag during a performance in Ain Sokhna.

In March, police questioned Safinaz over the incident. She was released the same day after paying LE20,000 ($2,620) bail.

A law passed in June 2014 imposed 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 been an immediate success with belly dance lovers, with appearances in several Egyptian movies as well as performances at prestigious weddings.

The 38-year-old artist is married to an Egyptian and has expressed her wish to spend her entire life in Egypt.

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