Woman arrested in Egypt for dancing too provocatively
Just months after a British woman was detained in Egypt for bringing prescription drugs into the country, a 31-year-old Russian woman has been arrested after dancing too provocatively - despite being hired to do exactly that.
Ekaterina Andreeva, who uses the nickname "Gawhara" when she's on stage, was employed as a belly dancer to entertain patrons of a club in Giza, north Egypt. Videos of her dancing were posted online, and appear to show the crowd cheering her on and joining in with her moves. As far as the clubgoers were concerned, then, Andreeva was doing nothing wrong.
However, because of a slight wardrobe complication, her performance was later deemed to be "immoral" and she has since been charged with "inciting debauchery".
According to the prosecutor in the case, Hatim Fadl, Andreeva's dancing was considered a criminal act because of her outfit. "Rules for the dance performance oblige the performer to wear underwear of any color but beige," he said. However, he went on: "Gawhara did not have any underwear, and of course it was provocative."
A further report in an Egyptian newspaper explained that "Tourism police arrested [Andreeva] after they saw a video of the dancer wearing a revealing outfit in violation of standards that exposed the charms of her body without shorts."
It also made note that she apparently "used her hand to point at sensitive parts of her body to stir up the passions of young people."
During the investigation, Andreeva denied the accusations. "I know the traditions of your country, if I wanted to dance naked I’d have done it in Russia," she said. "The dance suit that appeared in the videos is not provocative and is identical to the costume my counterparts wear in Egypt."
The belly dancer also claimed that investigators on the case had acted unlawfully, and had stolen the outfit she was wearing that evening without acquiring a warrant first. The reason they did this, she says, was so that it could be used against her as evidence in court.
Police interrogated Andreeva for five hours, during which time they also accused her of performing without a license. However, she was adamant that she had a work permit that had been issued by the General Administration of Tourism.
Unfortunately, due to a crackdown on "immorality" in Egypt at the moment, the 31-year-old's case was treated with extreme severity, and she was charged with two offenses.
For now, the dancer - who reportedly runs a dance studio with her husband in Moscow - has been released on bail. She was ordered to pay 5,000 EGP ($282) and has yet to be sentenced for her "crimes".
According to a friend of Andreeva's, the company who originally hired her to perform at the Giza nightclub are working with lawyers in order to resolve the issue, and hopefully allow the belly dancer to avoid serving any jail time.
It is awful that the dancer would face criminal charges for something like this in the first place, and is yet another example of archaic laws which are in place to oppress women.