Egyptian prosecutors ordered the detention of two belly dancers Wednesday in what appeared to be a crackdown on raunchy videos in the conservative country. The women, who have been accused of inciting debauchery, the United Arab Emirate's Gulf News reported, were ordered to be held for at least four days pending questions on their roles in the videos.
The dancers, who go by the names Bardis and the Egyptian Shakira, were arrested at a nightclub where they were performing Wednesday. Their arrests followed complaints filed by lawyers accusing the women of outraging public morality and harming Egyptian women’s image. A preliminary police investigation found the women appeared in “immoral videos,” performing dances “full of sexual insinuations,” a security source said, according to Gulf News. Both in their late 20s, the women could face up to a year in prison for their appearances in two separate videos.
It wouldn’t be the first time the conservative North African country has cracked down on racy videos.
Last month, a belly dancer was sentenced to one year in prison for posing in a skimpy outfit in a music video uploaded to Youtube, International Business Time’s UK Edition reported. The video recieved hundreds of thousands of 'likes' on YouTube, and featured up-skirt shots, as Reda El-Fouly seductively slipped down the strap of her shirt.
The video’s director, Wael Elsedeki, was also wanted by authorities following the video, but was believed to have fled to Tunisia to escape prosecution. He was also sentenced to a year in prison in absentia. El-Fouly claimed the video was a spoof on Western culture, but that failed to convince authorities, who charged her with “disrupting morality” and “inciting debauchery,” Mirror reported.
The detentions came as Egypt’s government continued to face criticism for its perceived authoritarian nature. While much of that criticism related to its treatment of political opposition, authorities have also staged a series of arrests in Cairo in the name of public morality.