Lebanese demand release of tourist jailed in Egypt over video decrying sexual harassment

Lebanese social media users have called on their government to petition Egyptian authorities to release a tourist jailed for “insulting” Egyptians in an online video.

Facebook users in Lebanon took to social media and demanded Beirut take measures to free Lebanese tourist Mona al-Mazbouh, after she was sentenced to eight years in prison on Saturday for “insulting” the country.

The users decried the sentence as “excessively harsh” and some called for Lebanese to boycott tourist hotspots in Egypt.

“This sentence for insulting Egyptians is very cruel and is disproportionate for the crime she committed,” said one

Facebook user.

Lebanese news website al-Modon said in an editorial that Cairo has sent “the clear message that tourists are not welcome in Egypt”.

“She is a woman who was harassed in a country that sympathises with the harassers and pays no heed to the law,” it added.

Mazbouh was initially handed down 11 years but the sentence was later reduced to eight.

The sentence came after she posted a video in which she used profanities to describe her holiday in Cairo where she says she was sexually harassed.

She called Egyptians the “dirtiest people” and Egypt “the country of pimps… of beggars”.

Mazbouh later posted an apology video, saying “I definitely didn’t mean to offend all Egyptians”.

She was arrested in May before departing from Cairo.

In May, Egyptian police detained an activist after she posted a video online criticising the government’s failure to address the sexual harassment epidemic in the country.

According to a 2013 report by the UN, 99.3 percent of women in Egypt have experienced sexual harassment.

In April, Egypt passed a law allowing authorities to fine people who harass foreign tourists, in a bid to revitalise its ailing tourism industry.

Egyptian authorities regularly detain people who publicly criticise the government.