Egypt arrests Tiktok influencer evading 10-year sentence

Egypt arrests Tiktok influencer evading 10-year sentence
2 min read
22 June, 2021
Egyptian police arrested Tiktok influencer Haneen Hossam Tuesday two days after she failed to appear in court for her sentencing to 10 years on 'human trafficking' charges, a security official said.
Egyptian influencers (L) Haneen Hossam and (R) Mowada al-Adham, who were sentenced to two years in prison

Egyptian police arrested Tiktok influencer Haneen Hossam Tuesday two days after she failed to appear in court for her sentencing to 10 years on "human trafficking" charges, a security official said.

Hossam, 19, was caught in a Cairo suburb and will be transferred to the Public Prosecution, the official said.

Another social media influencer, Mowada al-Adham, was also sentenced on Sunday with three other people to six years in jail by the Cairo Criminal Court for "corrupting family values, inciting debauchery and encouraging young women to practise sexual relations", her lawyer Saber Sokkar told AFP on Monday.

Hossam was given a longer sentence because she had failed to appear in court at previous hearings, Sokkar added.

Hossam's arrest came a day after she posted a tearful video on social media that went viral pleading with authorities to drop the charges.

"10 years! I didn't do anything immoral to deserve all this. I was jailed for 10 months and didn't say a word after I was released... Why do you want to jail me again?," she asked.

Both women were arrested last year and sentenced to two years each in jail for "attacking society's values" in videos published on TikTok.

tiktok
Female Tik Tok content creators are targets of the Egyptian government [Getty]

In one video, Hossam told her millions of followers that girls could work for her for money, for which she was also accused last year of "debauchery" and "human trafficking".

But in January an appeals court acquitted the pair.

The targeting of female influencers has rekindled a heated debate in the deeply conservative Muslim country over what constitutes individual freedoms and social values.

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The crackdown on women is not unusual in Egypt, where several belly dancers and pop singers have been targeted in recent years over online content deemed too racy or suggestive.

Human rights groups say more freedoms have been curtailed in Egypt since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014.

His government has enforced strict internet controls through laws allowing authorities to block websites seen as a threat to national security and to monitor personal social media accounts with more than 5,000 followers.