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Egypt sentences TikTok star to 3 years for ‘human trafficking’

April 19, 2022 at 11:29 am

A woman watches a video of Egyptian influencer Haneen Hossam, who was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of violation public morals, on the video-sharing app TikTok in Egypt’s capital Cairo on July 28, 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt has reduced the sentence of TikTok star Haneen Hossam to three years for human trafficking, reducing an earlier ruling of ten years.

The vlogger was also handed a 200,000 Egyptian pound fine, roughly $10,840, by the Cairo Criminal Court.

Haneen’s retrial was adjourned in February. After a judge extended her detention the social media influencer broke down in tears and asked to be with her mother.

After being arrested in 2020, Haneen was accused of “promoting prostitution” and “inciting immorality and temptation” after she encouraged other women to make money from making videos to share on another platform, Likee.

Since then, she has been released on bail, rearrested, and now had her sentence reduced. Haneen has denied all the charges against her.

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Haneen was one of 12 women with high social media profiles who have been arrested and imprisoned for “violating family values” and an array of other spurious charges.

With over 900,000 followers Haneen lip-synced to songs and danced, sharing the videos with her followers.

One of the other women, Manar Samy, was accused of “stirring up instincts” after she posted a video of herself dancing on a beach. Menna Abdelaziz was arrested after going live on Instagram to appeal for help. She had visible marks on her face and said that she had been raped and beaten.

Human rights campaigners have said that the charges against these women are degrading and bogus and have called on the government to release the TikTok women, as they have become known.

The crackdown has been seen as part of a wider pattern of curbing free speech, including on social media which has been harder to control than traditional media.

In 2018 Egyptian authorities passed legislation allowing the government to prosecute anyone with an account or blog with over 5,000 followers as they would a newspaper or TV programme.