Father of Lebanese woman jailed in Egypt over Facebook insult video speaks out

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The father of a Lebanese woman who was recently handed down an eight-year jail term in Egypt over a Facebook post deemed insulting by authorities is speaking up for the first time.

An Egyptian court sentenced, Mona al-Mazbouh, 24, to eight years in prison after finding her guilty of deliberately spreading false rumors that would harm society, attacking religion, and public indecency, judicial sources said.

On Saturday, her father, Ali al-Mazbouh, apologized to all the Egyptians who took offense by his daughter’s viral video on Facebook.

In an interview with Al Arabiya English, he said that his daughter loves Egypt, and that this was her second time visiting Cairo. Ali al-Mazbouh also added that her recent actions do not reflect her true personality whatsoever. He said that she is usually calm and forgiving, but is undergoing some complicated health issues.

No stranger to harassment

The father of the Lebanese tourist said that his daughter was subjected to harassment during her childhood in southern Beirut. He explains how her past made her very sensitive to the matter, leading to an extreme reaction if subjected to any form of harassment.

Being harassed in Egypt triggered an emotional imbalance and a nervous breakdown which led to the insolent video, her father explained.

The apology

Ali al-Mazbouh submitted a formal apology on behalf of his family to Egypt, its nation, and the Egyptian embassy in Beirut.

Additionally, he coordinated with Lebanese officials to insure that his apology and appreciation for Egypt reaches the Egyptian authorities and the Egyptian public.

He also said that he hopes that the Egyptian authorities would look beyond his daughter’s mistake given her young age and naivety. According to the father, al-Mazbouh did not finish her education due to her illness.

An appeal court will now hear the case on July 29, according to al-Mazboh’s lawyer, Emad Kamal.

“Of course, God willing, the verdict will change. With all due respect to the judiciary, this is a severe ruling. It is in the context of the law, but the court was applying the maximum penalty,” he said.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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