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Detention extended for 3 Egyptian TikTokers arrested on terror charges

Egyptian TikTokers Basma Hegazi and Mohamed Hosam [MMohamed_Hafez/Twitter]
Egyptian TikTokers Basma Hegazi and Mohamed Hosam [MMohamed_Hafez/Twitter]

Three Egyptian TikTokers who were arrested and put on remand have had their pretrial detention extended.

Basma Hegazi, Ahmad Ali El-Khouly and Mohamed Hosam have been accused of spreading false news, belonging to a terror organisation and misusing social media.

The decision was made by Egypt's state prosecution after a video they made, a parody of a prison visit, went viral online.

Human rights lawyer Nabeh Elganadi said that the three TikTokers were questioned about their social media posts.

He told AFP that because lawyers are prohibited from examining state security prosecution reports, he cannot say for certain that the satirical video was the real reason why the three were arrested.

Human rights watchdogs, including Amnesty International, have said that Egypt uses prolonged and indefinite pretrial detention to punish perceived political opponents.

READ: Egypt prisoner on pre-trial detention dies in police station after medical neglect

Under Egyptian law, prisoners can only be held on pretrial detention for two years, though they are regularly held for longer than that.

Basem, Ahmad and Ali join several female TikTokers with large followings who have been accused of spurious offences, including "violating family values."

One of these women, Haneen Hossam, was initially sentenced to ten years in prison for human trafficking before a public outcry forced authorities to reduce her sentence to three years.

In 2016 five comedians known as Aftal Al-Shawarea, Street Kids, who made videos mocking President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi were arrested and accused of 'inciting terrorism'.

One of their songs, versions of Egyptian folksongs and pop songs, criticised arbitrary arrests carried out by the regime.

Satirist and YouTuber Shady AbouZaid was released in 2021 after being charged with joining an illegal group and disseminating false news.

There are some 65,000 political prisoners being held in detention in Egypt who are systematically tortured and denied medical attention.

READ: 2 TikTokers arrested, accused of belonging to a 'terror group'

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