New Delhi: A court in Egypt on Monday sentenced several young women to two years in prison for posting “indecent” dance videos on the infamous video sharing platform TikTok.
Each of the women was fined nearly $19,000 for “violating the values and principles of the Egyptian family,” along with promoting human trafficking and inciting debauchery, said a statement from the public prosecutor.
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The prosecution statement named two of the defendant- Haneen Hossam 20-year-old, and Mawada Eladhm 22-year-old, and said that the other three helped in running their social media accounts. After posting catchy Egyptian club-pop tracks video snippets, the two women recently launched to fame in TikTok. They have amassed over a million followers and in their 15-second clips, they pose in cars, play jokes in skits, and dance in kitchens. These are familiar and seemingly tame content for the video-sharing platform.
Lawyer of Eladhum, Ahmed el-Bahkeri confirmed the sentencing said that she was crying in the court for two years sentencing and the monetary fine.
He urged that they just wanted followers and hence are not a part of any prostitution network. He also said that the girls had no clue that their short videos would be perceived as prostitution.
It was their social media stardom that became their undoing as in Egypt, citizens can land in prison for crimes such as “disseminating fake news,” “inciting debauchery and immorality,” and “misusing social media.”
Even though Egypt remains comparatively liberal than Gulf Arab states, it has been alleged that the Muslim majority country has swung in a conservative direction over the last half-century. This can be proven by the fact that pop divas, social media influencers, belly dancers, etc., have been facing backlash for violating the said norms.