TikTokers put behind bars just for being women and attacking family values

Eygpt has initiated a crackdown on TikTok content creators who ''attack family values'' by posting "provocatively" on the social media site.

At least a dozen women since 2020 have been prosecuted for this reason, a vague smokescreen to jail women "just for being women," according to a researcher at Amnesty for the Middle East and North Africa.

Hussein Baoumi said the authorities started by going after influencers who "criticise the government, president or military" but are now cracking down on normal young people who don't fit the traditional vision of the Egyptian authorities.

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''The Egyptian authorities have been trying to control what is being said on social media for a very long time," Hussein Baoumi told ITV News.

"Initially they started with mostly political issues, going after people who criticise the government, president or military. [The offence of] attacking family values means that the prosecutors have seen these videos and have decided that this attacks family values under cyber crime law.

"It doesn’t really explain what family values or morals are; it's quite vague.''

Nancy Al-Sayed, 16, who published her "provacative" videos under the name Moka Hijazi, was sentenced to a year in prison, in April. Her boyfriend is also said to have broken the law by filming her.

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Her charges pertained to gross indecency, according to local media.

Her boyfriend, identified only as Moaz M, was sentenced to three years for shooting the clips of the young woman dancing in her bra.

Moaz was accused of exploiting the girl by making her shoot and publish video clips in revealing clothing with the aim of making money, Newsweek reported.

In 2020 Haneen Hossam was arrested for ''attacking society’s values'', after she was accused of encouraging women to sell sex online after she posted an ad on her Instagram about a streaming app called Likee, similar to TikTok.

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She was jailed for 10 years and slapped with a £9,191 fine. Another woman Mawada al-Adham was also jailed, for six years.

They were also accused of “corrupting family values”, “inciting debauchery” and “encouraging young women to practice sexual relations”, according to Al-Adham’s lawyer Saber Sokker.

Several belly dancers and pop singers have been targeted in recent years.

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Human rights groups say freedoms are being curbed under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who seized power in a military coup in 2014.

The country introduced its cybercrime laws in 2018, which criminalise practices that violate family values, despite not providing clear parameters for what constitutes such an offence.

Egyptian feminist Ghadeer Ahmed said the arrest of TikTok stars in Egypt had become a common phenomenon.

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Two famous male Egyptian singers were also targeted under the same vague law after a video of them with a Brazilian belly dancer went viral in 2020.

Hamo Bika and Omar Kamal, were convicted of ''violating family values'' and were sentenced to a year in prison.

The pair were also fined around £400, with the option of having their jail terms suspended if they paid the same amount on top as a fee.


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