Jail sentences of ‘TikTok girls’ overturned by Egyptian court


An Egyptian court has overturned the sentence of two young women imprisoned last year over videos posted on social media platform TikTok that is considered indecent and immoral by authorities.

Haneen Hossam and Mawada al-Adham were sentenced to two years in prison and given fines of nearly US$20,000 (£15,300; 17,000 euros) over videos posted for their millions of followers as Egypt cracked down on social media personalities last year.

They were among five women who were charged with inciting “debauchery” and “immorality” with the content they posted on the video-sharing platform, although it was not always clear which videos and photos were of concern to the authorities.

Under Egyptian law, the charge of “inciting debauchery” is used against a range of offences. The public prosecutor’s office often determines the charge as something that is “against Egyptian society’s traditions and morals”.

Ms. Hossam has been acquitted of all charges, according to local media, while the court upheld the fines on Adham and the other defendants.

The women became known as the “TikTok girls” when their cases attracted widespread attention in Egypt.

Ms. Hossam was arrested in April 2020 after posting a three-minute clip telling her 1.3 million followers that girls could make money by working with her, according to the AFP news agency.

While Ms. Hossam was cleared of the main charges against her on Tuesday, she still faces charges of human trafficking, according to Reuters news agency.

In May last year, Adham was arrested after posting satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram, where she had at least two million followers.

The other three people whose prison sentences were also overturned have not been identified.

TikTok’s popularity in Egypt has skyrocketed in recent months, especially following the restrictions on movement imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19, reports say. (Source: BBC)