Popular TikTok stars Haneen Hossam and Mawada al-Adham have been sentenced to a combined total of 16 years in jail for alleged “human trafficking” due to their social media content!
Haneen was sentenced to 10 years while Mawada, 22, got six years, and they’ve both been fined for £9,191 — that’s $12,837! Yikes! All for videos that the government felt encouraged other young women to get online to earn money themselves.
In court filings, the girls were accused of “corrupting family values,” “inciting debauchery,” and “encouraging young women to practice sexual relations,” according to Al-Adham’s lawyer Saber Sokker. Yet, the videos used in court only seem to show the influencers participating in popular dance trends on the app.
Part of the reason 19-year-old Hossam may have been struck with a harder sentence is that prosecutors claimed she incited “debauchery” by videos that encouraged women 18 years and older to work from home making videos and talking to strangers online. In her defense, the star said:
“There are famous actors that use TikTok. Does this mean they work in prostitution?”
Both women will be able to appeal their sentences. Crazy enough, they actually already have once — both recently managed to avoid two years in prison for different charges! Last year, both stars were accused of “attacking society’s values” through their TikTok videos. In January, they were acquitted in an appeals court. These new charges — and harsh sentences — then came out of nowhere.
Haneen has already taken to the internet to plea for mercy. In a heartbreaking TikTok video, she sobs before the camera:
“I obtained a judicial ruling of acquittal on the appeal, and I was surprised the next day that I would be presented to court, and I went to the Attorney General’s office, he told me that as long as he’s sitting at the office, there is no acquittal for Haneen Hossam. Why don’t you want to announce my innocence, you can see that I haven’t done anything.”
She then appeals directly to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to free her:
“Mr. President, your daughter is dying. I swear to God your daughter is dying. I pulled myself together so that I can seek the help of the president and people. What should I do?! I was wronged and I did not do anything. I am literally dying. Save me. My mother is about to have a stroke after the ruling.”
She then explained how she was paid $300 for doing an ad for the app Likee — and somehow is being accused of “human trafficking”:
“You all have the app, and a number of YouTube celebrities are on the same application. And if this application is forbidden, why do you still have it out there?! Will a 19-year-old know how to practice human trafficking?!”
“The future and life of a family is being destroyed. What did I do? No one was harmed by me, I didn’t harm anyone.”
Unfortunately, these young women are not the first or last to be affected by Sisi’s strict guidelines on social media content deemed “provocative.” Attempting to maintain control over Muslim morals, the President continues to enact legal power over citizens using vague cybercrime laws established in 2018. The law makes it so anyone who violates their definition of “family values” can be criminalized; and because it’s unclear just what would constitute a violation, it’s lead mostly to the unjust policing of women’s bodies and career choices.
Along with the TikTokers, belly dancers and pop singers have also been targeted recently. Sadly, arrests similar to Haneen and Mawada’s have become all too common, according to Egyptian feminist Ghadeer Ahmed, ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in a military coup in 2014. While human rights organizations work to fight against these unjust actions, change could take a long time.
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