Egyptian actors Mohamed Shoman and Wagdy El-Araby were suspended by the Actors' Syndicate over unpaid membership fees and not for political reasons, head of the syndicate Ashraf Zaki has announced.
Zaki added that he suspended a total of 10 syndicate members, including Shoman and El-Araby.
Some critics said that Shoman and El-Araby were suspended from the union because of their Islamist leanings.
Shoman has recently joined pro-Muslim Brotherhood channel Al-Sharq, which broadcasts from Turkey. El-Araby, a well known member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group, had served as a member of Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) under Egypt's ex-president Morsi.
However, Zaki told Al-Masry Al-Youm that “dismissing Shoman and El-Araby was a result of unpaid dues, and not political stances.”
"We do not meddle in political matters,” Zaki added.
Zaki explained that the law gives the syndicate’s head the right to suspend members over unpaid fees for a duration of a year. He added that he gave the punished members “a two-year chance” to settle their back dues.
Shoman is an Egyptian actor who starred in an array of film and TV productions, including the films Al-Sefara Fi Al-Omara, Halim, Wahed Min Al Nas, Morgan Ahmed Morgan, and the TV drama series Omarat Yaacoubian, Lahazat Harega, and Ragel Wa Set Setat.
El-Araby began his film career at a very young age, starring in the films Nahr Al-Hob and Bein Al-Qasrein. He shifted to acting in religious-themed TV dramas like Al-Zaher Bibars, Al-Imam Al-Shafei and Al-Abtal later on in his career.
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