Egyptian actress questioned over revealing dress at gala

This photo taken on Nov. 29, 2018 shows Egyptian actress Rania Youssef on the red carpet of the Cairo International Film Festival. The actress facing trial on public obscenity charges for wearing a revealing dress says she didn't mean to offend anyone and appealed to her detractors to believe in her good intentions.(AP Photo/Suheil Saleh)

CAIRO (AP) — It's a dress that has shaken Egypt and the uproar continues — prosecutors on Wednesday questioned actress Rania Youssef for at least four hours on accusations of public obscenity over a revealing dress she wore to a cinema gala last week, her lawyer said.

Youssef was allowed to go free after the questioning, pending the completion of the investigation, said the lawyer, Shaban Said.

But he added that she still faces trial on Jan. 12, a date set by court, and could possibly face up to five years in prison, if convicted.

The initial complaint against the 45-year-old Youssef was filed by a group of lawyers with a reputation for moral vigilantism but they said they withdrew their complaint on Tuesday.

The lawyers, Wahid al-Kilani, Hamido Jameel al-Prince, Amr Abdel Salam and Samir Sabry, said they decided to forego legal action after Youssef made a public statement.

Though she stopped short of an outright apology, Youssef said she did not mean to offend anyone with her long black dress, its see-through skirt revealing her legs in their entirety. She wore the dress last Thursday for the closing ceremony of this year's Cairo International Film Festival.

Images of Youssef in the dress were widely shared on social media in Muslim-majority Egypt, where ostensibly secular authorities often side with religious conservatives.

Her case prompted the country's Actors Guild to declare it intended to investigate and discipline actors who wore "inappropriate" attire during the opening and closing ceremonies of the weeklong film festival, arguing that they clashed with "traditions, values and ethics of the society."

A guild representative, Ayman Azab, attended Wednesday's questioning, Youssef's lawyer said.

Youssef said in a Facebook post that she may have misjudged how people would react to the dress.

"If I had known, I would not have worn this dress," she said. "I want to repeat my commitment to the values and ethics we have been raised by in Egyptian society."

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse