O-kay: criminal complaints for promoting debauchery and “insulting the nation”

I just grabbed this out of the New York Times. And I’m sitting here thinking, “Hm.” This is happening in Egypt but geez, what about here? I mean, given the official debauchery promotion emerging from the White House, every single day?

But wait no, I’m confused. We may have a debauched White House but we don’t want Purity Police. Do we?

Bringing cases against puppets, belly dancers and other really really dangerous sorts:

CAIRO — In a cluttered corner of his labyrinthine law office, amid dog-eared files and half-drunk coffee cups, Samir Sabry stood over a computer screen, his face grave as a stone, watching a clip of a potty-mouthed puppet.

On screen was Abla Fahita, a popular satirical character based on a wisecracking widow with a salty sense of humor. She was poking fun at the forced intimacy of Egyptians in such a crowded society. “Like two butt cheeks in a pair of underpants,” she quipped.

Mr. Sabry’s lip curled.

“They call this funny?” he asked. “It’s extremely immoral, and a lot of Egyptians hate it.”

He issued an order, and the following morning, his office dispatched a criminal complaint to a public prosecutor, accusing the puppet’s producers of “promoting debauchery.” If convicted, they face up to five years in prison.

Mr. Sabry, a portly 67-year-old lawyer, is one of the most prolific litigators in a country where the law allows one citizen to press charges against another for vague crimes like immorality and “insulting” the nation. While it falls to a government prosecutor to decide whether to pursue such cases, and many are dismissed as frivolous, the successes have stifled free speech, hobbled the arts and even swayed national politics.

“Mr. Sabry’s lip curled.” Love that line. It’s maybe my favorite line in, I dunno, an hour or so.

Oh, and “insulting the nation,” OMFG. He knows nuthin’ about insulting the nation.


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