An Egyptian court has sentenced five influential social media women to two years in prison each for violating public morals.
The verdict against Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham and three others came after he posted images on the TikTok video sharing app.
The decision, which can be appealed, called for a fine of 300,000 Egyptian pounds ($ 18,750) for each accused, the source noted.
Haneen Hossam, 20, a student at Cairo University, has been accused of encouraging young women to meet men via a video app and form friendships with them, receiving a fee based on the number of followers who look at these cats.
Mawada al-Adham, a TikTok and Instagram influencer with at least two million subscribers, has been accused of posting indecent photos and videos on social media.
The other three women were accused of helping Hossam and Al-Adham manage their social media accounts, according to the prosecution.
Al-Adham’s lawyer Ahmed el-Bahkeri confirmed the convictions and said they would appeal the verdict.
Hossam was arrested in April after posting a three-minute clip telling 1.3 million subscribers girls can make money working with her.
In May, authorities arrested Adham for posting satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram.
Lawyer el-Bahkeri said the young women faced separate charges over the sources of their funds.
Internet penetration has reached over 40 percent of Egypt’s youthful population of over 100 million.
“The verdict is shocking, even if it was expected. We will see what happens on appeal, ”said women’s rights lawyer Intissar al-Saeed.
“This is still a dangerous indicator… Regardless of the differing views on the content presented by the girls on TikTok, it is still not a reason for imprisonment. ”
Several human rights activists have taken to social media to condemn the arrests.
A trending hashtag in Arabic that translates to “courtesy of the Egyptian family” was used extensively in an online social media campaign to draw attention to the case and demanded the release of influential women.
(1) Today you will find many # بعد_اذن_الاسرة_المصرية tweets. They started at 1 p.m. (Cairo time) and will continue throughout the day to attract attention ahead of 2 verdicts expected this week for 3 Egyptian TikTok users: Haneen Hosam & Mawada El-Adham (7/27) & Manar Samy (7/29). pic.twitter.com/fxoTvRewmN
– Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) 26 juillet 2020
Two women today in Egypt were sentenced to two years and fined EGP 300,000 for simply dancing and singing on TikTok @ncwegypt is complicit in this injustice by their silence. It is an injustice, a misogyny and a serious violation of digital freedom. # بعد_اذن_الاسرة_المصرية
– The World Falls (@Saldroite) 27 juillet 2020
Did you know that Egypt always performs virginity tests? And that it’s chasing influential women on TikTok instead of dealing with a pandemic? because chastity you all! # بعد_اذن_الاسرة_المصرية https://t.co/49dqS9XoOn
– Nana (@Nabuels) July 27, 2020
A petition was also launched on Change.org asking for the publication of the influencers with more than 1,500 signatures.
« We are a women’s group calling on state authorities to stop targeting women on TikTok. We call on the National Council of Women to provide legal support to Haneen Hossam, Mawada El-Adham, Menna AbdelAziz, Sherry Hanem, Nora Hesham, Manar Samy, Reenad Emad, Hadeer Hady and Bassant Mohamed, ”the petition states.
Egypt has cracked down on singers and dancers in recent years for online content deemed too racy or suggestive.
Last month, an Egyptian court sentenced belly dancer Sama al-Masry to three years for inciting “debauchery” on social media after posting a TikTok dance video.
In 2018, a singer was arrested on charges of “inciting debauchery” after an online music video featuring sultry dance moves went viral.
The previous year, a pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges, also for a video deemed provocative. His sentence was reduced to one year on appeal.
“The accusations of spreading debauchery or violating family values are very vague… and its definition is broad,” Saeed said.
Egypt has in recent years imposed strict controls on the Internet through laws allowing authorities to block websites deemed to be a threat to national security and monitor personal social media accounts with more than 5,000 subscribers. .