They Posted 'Tame' TikTok Videos, Then Were Jailed

Egyptian women imprisoned for playful videos viewed as immoral
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2020 12:08 PM CDT
They Posted 'Tame' TikTok Videos, Then Were Jailed
A man opens social media app 'Tik Tok' on his cell phone, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on July 21.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Two Egyptian women with millions of followers on TikTok have been sentenced to jail time after a court objected to videos showing them singing and dancing. Mawada el-Adham, 22, and Haneen Hossam, 20, reportedly wept as they were convicted of "violating family values" on Monday and each sentenced to two years in jail by a Cairo court. They were also fined $19,000 each. Three others received the same sentence for helping the social media stars post the videos, lawyers say, per the New York Times. The outlet says they're two of at least nine Egyptian women arrested in relation to TikTok since April; most were jailed without bail, though human rights activists have demanded their release. Another woman is due to be sentenced Wednesday, when two others—a mother and daughter—will stand trial.

El-Adham and Hossam's videos "are tame by social media standards," per the Times. But prosecutors with wide powers under a 2018 cybercrime law described them as immoral. El-Adham, who claims 3.2 million followers, was seen lip-syncing and wearing tight-fitted clothing. Hossam, a student at Cairo University, had encouraged women to post videos to the app Likee, which pays users based on view count, per the Times. Prosecutors said she'd urged women to sell sex online. "The verdict is shocking," lawyer Intissar al-Saeed tells AFP. "Regardless of the divergent views on the content presented by the girls on TikTok, it still is not a reason for imprisonment." A petition calls "on state authorities to stop targeting women on TikTok" and seeks legal aid for the women provided by the National Council for Women. (More Egypt stories.)

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