An Egypt-based Russian belly dancer sparked controversy last year after a video of her dancing went viral. Now, she's been sentenced to one year in jail for "inciting debauchery," Egypt Independent reported on Wednesday.
The sentencing of Ekaterina Andreeva - who's known by her stage name Johara (Jewel) - was passed by the Giza Misdemeanors Court. It comes almost a year after the dancer was arrested by police and interrogated "on charges of inciting debauchery and dancing semi-naked, as well as working as a dancer without obtaining a permit from the Manpower Ministry."
At the time, the dancer she was labeled as a threat "to public security due to her provocative dancing."
Andreeva was released on bail during her trial and is now expected to appeal her sentence. Officials have backtracked on an order for her deportation from Egypt and, so, she remains in the country.
Andreeva's legal troubles started after she was filmed dancing in a nightclub on a Nile boat in Giza. The dancer was said to have violated an Egyptian law that states performers must wear shorts under dance suits.
At the time of her detainment, the performer denied the accusations in a statement reported by local press.
"I know the traditions of your country, if I wanted to dance naked I'd have done it in Russia. The dance suit that appeared in the videos is not provocative and is identical to the costume my counterparts wear in Egypt," she said.
However, investigation records obtained by the prosecution revealed that the General Directorate of the Police of Tourism and Antiquities had closely looked at the video capturing one of Johara's performances. They found she was "semi-naked" and "wore a dance suit that is not in accordance with regulations."
Prosecutors also stated that the defendant had been working in the country without a license.
According to Egypt Independent, the award-winning dancer explained last February she was the "only foreign dancer who works in Egypt under a work permit issued by the General Administration of Tourism, Theatrical Professions Syndicate and the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration."
Johara defiantly reacted to the news with this Instagram story
The belly dancer didn't issue a statement in the wake of the sentence; instead, she chose to respond in an Instagram story.
In it, Johara captioned a photo of her performing, writing: "My reaction on today's news."
This wouldn't be the first "debauchery" case against a female celebrity in Egypt
In 2018, Egyptian singer Laila Amer was arrested and charged with "inciting debauchery" after releasing a song deemed "racy" and "offensive."
In Dec. 2017, an Egyptian court sentenced singer Shimaa Ahmad, also known as Shyma, to two years in jail - later reduced to one year - over the racy music video of her song "I Have Issues." Following a quick trial, the singer was found guilty of "inciting debauchery" and "publishing an indecent film."
Similarly, in Sept. 2015, bellydancers Shakira and Bardis were jailed for six months each for "inciting debauchery" in their music videos.