Couple jailed for swinging

A Cairo court has sentenced a man to seven years and his wife to three years in prison for setting up a swingers’ club, the press reported on Sunday, in a case that has angered conservative Egyptian society.

Tolba Abdel Hafez, a 48-year-old civil servant, and his wife Salwa Higazi, a 37-year-old schoolteacher, were sentenced by the Agouza Criminal Court on Saturday, the state-owned Al-Gomhuria reported.

Extra-marital sex is illegal in the mainly Muslim country where Islamic law is a principal source of legislation.

The Cairo couple, who have children, used the pseudonyms Magdy and Samira on a website and in e-mails to organise wife-swapping parties and orgies.

They were arrested in October on prostitution charges and confessed to having sexual relations with three other couples, although at least 44 couples signed up for Cairo swinging sessions via the website.

In sentencing the pair, the judge described the case as “one of the worst crimes committed,” Al-Gomhuria reported.

Rights groups have criticised the 1961 law that can be used to prosecute suspects because it defines certain sexual acts as prostitution even if no money changes hands.

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