Egypt Overturns Jail Sentences for two Girls Who Gained Fame on TikTok

CAIRO — An Egyptian court docket has overturned the sentences of two younger girls who have been convicted and imprisoned final yr on fees of “violating household values” and “inciting debauchery” after they gained fame on TikTok, in line with state-run media.

The case drew widespread consideration as Egyptian prosecutors waged a far-ranging authorized battle final yr in opposition to what they thought-about public immorality in social media.

The 2 girls have been amongst a handful of social media influencers, together with a feminine pop star and a stomach dancer, to come back underneath scrutiny for his or her posts in recent times. As their social media followings and, in some circumstances, revenue earned by means of movies have grown, younger feminine influencers have confronted a conservative backlash in a rustic the place activist legal professionals and prosecutors take it upon themselves to implement strict social norms for girls.

The ladies, Haneen Hossam and Mawada el-Adham, have been 20 and 22 once they have been convicted and sentenced in July to 2 years in jail. They turned stars on TikTok, Instagram and different social media platforms with playful movies they posted of themselves dancing, lip-syncing and singing.

Egyptians caught at residence in the course of the coronavirus lockdown cherished it, and the ladies accrued hundreds of thousands of followers. However in comparison with different social media posts in Egypt and the West, the movies appeared tame; Ms. Hossam normally appeared in a head scarf.

However prosecutors accused the ladies of “indecent” exercise, homing in on one clip Ms. Hossam posted on Instagram during which she inspired feminine followers to attempt entering into the social media influencer sport by posting movies of themselves to the app Likee, which pays creators based mostly on the variety of views they rack up.

Prosecutors accused Ms. Hossam of instigating younger girls to promote intercourse on the app and of human trafficking. The ladies denied the costs in opposition to them.

The ladies’s defenders, together with digital rights activists, have mentioned their middle- and working-class backgrounds made them extra susceptible to fees of indecency than extra prosperous Egyptian girls, who’re topic to much less ethical scrutiny.

Beneath the brand new ruling, the ladies are imagined to be launched from jail, however it was not instantly clear whether or not they had been freed but.

Although the court docket overturned the jail sentences for each girls, it upheld a tremendous of about $19,000 for Ms. el-Adham.

Three different defendants convicted on fees of serving to the ladies evade arrest and conceal their alleged crimes additionally gained their appeals on Tuesday, in line with Al-Ahram, a state-owned information outlet.

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