Egyptian TV presenter faces jail time after appearing to promote pre-marital sex

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A bouquet is seen in the snow as a bride poses for a photograph after a group wedding ceremony during the 26th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, Heilongjiang province January 6, 2010. Reuters/Aly Song

An Egyptian TV presenter has been sentenced to three years jail time after she discussed on-air how women might be pregnant outside of marriage. The government felt she was “promoting indecency.”

Al-Nahar TV’s Doaa Salah asked viewers whether they had considered having sex outside marriage. She also appeared to suggest that unmarried women who wanted kids could marry briefly and have children before divorcing.

Salah appeared on an episode of her show titled “Buy a Man” wearing a fake baby bump. “You simply need to have the money and then separate,” she said.

Salah was then charged and convicted of outraging public decency, the BCC reports. She was also suspended from work for three months before legal action was taken against her. The sentence follows an initial verdict that is open to an appeal.

Sex before marriage is generally regarded as unacceptable in Egypt. The EFE news agency reports that according to authorities, ideas in the said episode "threatened the fabric of Egyptian life.”

The episode aired in July and was suspended for three months. Reham Saeed, another presenter from the network, was also suspended for months after discussing extra-marital affairs, Jezebel reports.

Meanwhile, Egyptian lawyer Nabih al-Wahsh is in hot water after saying women who wear ripped jeans deserved to be sexually harassed and raped. According to local news portal Al Arabiya, he made the statement last week while the law on fighting prostitution and inciting debauchery were being discussed.

Al-Wahsh mentioned seeing a girl walking down the street with half of her behind showing. "I say that when a girl walks about like that, it is a patriotic duty to sexually harass her and a national duty to rape her,” he added.

His comments have prompted fury. The Egypt's National Council for Women said it plans to file a complaint against the TV channel and urged media outlets to refrain from providing a platform for individuals who make incendiary comments that provoke violence against women.

The National Council said it would be filing one against the lawyer as they rebuke his assertion. Its members denounce and decry “this statement that explicitly promotes rape and sexual harassment.” Maya Morsi, head of council, said his remarks constitute an actual violation of the Egyptian constitution that makes efforts to safeguard the rights of women. In a 2008 study, 83 percent of Egyptian women said they had been sexually harassed.

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