Egyptian court has sentenced five young women to two years in prison for posting “indecent” dance videos on TikTok.
The prosecution statement named two of the defendants 20-year-old student Haneen Hossam and 22-year-old Mawada Eladhm. However, it said the other three helped run their social media accounts.
Court fined the women 300,000 Egyptian pounds (A$26,000) each for “violating the values and principles of the Egyptian family,” inciting debauchery and promoting human trafficking, according to a statement from the public prosecutor.
Haneen Hossam and Mawada Eladhm rose to fame, through TikTok videos. So, they amassed millions of followers for their video snippets.
The snippets include sharing of footage of themselves wearing makeup, posing on cars, dancing in kitchens and making funny skits.
However, their social media stardom became their undoing in a country, where citizens can land in prison for vague crimes such as “misusing social media,” “disseminating fake news,“ or “inciting debauchery and immorality.”
Meanwhile, their lawyers have vowed to appeal the ruling.
Eladhm‘s lawyer, Ahmed el-Bahkeri, confirmed the sentencing. In addition, he said the prosecution deemed Eladhm’s photos and videos “disgraceful and insulting.”
“Eladhm was crying in court. Two years? 300,000 Egyptian pounds? This is really something very tough to hear,” said Samar Shabana, the attorney’s assistant.
“They just want followers. They are not part of any prostitution network. Therefore, they did not know prosecutors would perceive their message this way,” she added, in reference to their posts encouraging young women to share videos and chat with strangers in exchange for money on other social media platform.
A widely circulated online petition described the arrests as a “systematic crackdown that targets low income women,” following the arrest 10 female TikTok users have been detained or prosecuted by authorities in recent months.
Meanwhile, Nigerian singer, Naira Marley, says he is enjoying unfettered fame with his social media posts about women and sex.