One of Egypt's top belly dancers was sentenced to six months in jail on Monday 20 April over insulting the country by wearing a dress designed after the Egyptian flag during a performance.

The Armenian national, Safinaz, was ordered by the Cairo Misdemeanour Court to also pay a fine of 15,000 Egyptian pounds (£1,318).

With an additional 10,000 Egyptian pounds (£879) in bail, the dancer is permitted to avoid jail, reported Gulf News.

Safinaz's defence lawyer argued in court that the dancer is a foreigner with no knowledge of the country's laws and had no intentions of insulting the flag.

The 30-year-old dancer, who has made special appearances in Egyptian movies and performed at several high-status weddings has denied the allegations defending her love for Egypt and accusing rivals of harming her reputation.

"It was a message of love to Egypt and its people," said Safinaz, defending her decision to adorn the red, white and black coloured dress.

The complaint against Safinaz was reportedly filed by a businesswoman.

Safinaz was not in court when the verdict was announced that charged the dancer for violating the country's flag during her performance at a concert in a resort outside Cairo in July 2004.

The dancer was first investigated over the incident in March, however she was released after posting a bail of 20,000 Egyptian pounds (£1,758).

According to a June 2014 law, insulting the Egyptian national flag is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine at maximum of 30,000 Egyptian pounds (£2,637).