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Dancer Loses Round Against Diplomat

October 10, 1999

JERUSALEM (AP) _ A belly dancer who charged that Egypt’s ambassador tried to rape her lost another court fight Sunday when a judge upheld the diplomat’s immunity, but her lawyer said she would appeal.

Shlomit Shalom, 33, had pressed criminal charges against Mohammed Bassiouny, alleging that he tried to rape her at his home in 1997. The prosecutor dropped the charges for lack of evidence, so Shalom sued for $286,000 in damages in a civil case, claiming no one would hire her now.

The court declared that Bassiouny’s diplomatic immunity shields him from being sued. On Sunday, the Tel Aviv district court rejected Shalom’s appeal but ruled that she could sue Bassiouny after his diplomatic immunity lapses.

Shalom’s lawyer, Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, said she would appeal. ``I hope the Supreme Court will have to courage to rule on this in our favor,″ she told The Associated Press.

Bassiouny denies any wrongdoing. Israel’s state attorney said in an earlier statement that the ambassador, who is married, had a relationship with the dancer.

Bassiouny, the doyen of the diplomatic corps, has served as Egypt’s ambassador to Israel for 19 years. He countersued Shalom, claiming she was trying to blackmail him.

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