Egyptian TikTok users Haneen Hossam and Mawada al-Adham have been jailed for 10 years and six years respectively for uploading innocent dance clips.
The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Hossam to 10 years in prison with a fine of EGP 200,000 (GBP 9,191), while al-Adham and three others were jailed for six years with the same fine.
According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, all five defendants were charged with human trafficking, because there social media profiles were designed to encourage young women to also join video sharing platforms and post inappropriate content.
The case was presided over by Judge Mohamed Ahmed El Gendy.
Hossam and al-Adham were arrested last year and were sentenced to prison by the Cairo Economic Court in July 2020 for violating Egyptian family values and inciting debauchery.
However, both debauchery sentences were overturned earlier this year and Hossam was released in February on the human trafficking charge while al-Adham remained in detention, according to the news site Egyptian Streets.
Prosecutors accused the TikTok dancers of using their social media accounts to recruit young woman onto video-sharing platforms as well as posting inappropriate material.
Hossam and al-Adham were among nine young women arrested in 2020 for posting TikTok content that was deemed to violate the country’s family values.
After being accused of inciting debauchery and human trafficking, the arrests drew criticism from human rights groups and feminist activists who accused the authorities of targeting women from low-income families with vague legal codes such as ‘violating family values’.
The charges came after Egypt introduced its cybercrime laws in 2018 that criminalise practices that violate family values, despite not providing clear parameters for what constitutes such an offence.
Activists claim that the vague legal codes lead to unfair treatment of women and allow the authorities to police women’s bodies.
The news site Al-Ahram said the women’s sentences are final and cannot be appealed.