(5 mins read)
The Egyptian government has come under western scrutiny for arresting women on suspicion of indecent activities.
Mawada al-Adham and Haneen Hossam were among five young women sentenced to two years in prison and given fines of nearly $20,000 over videos posted online.
Ms. Hossam has been acquitted of all charges, according to local media. However, the court upheld the fines on Adham and the other defendants.
These women amongst the 3 others are known as the “TikTok girls” in Egypt and it’s for this reason, many Egyptian women were outraged, taking to the streets and protesting against the arrests of these women.
Ms. Hossam was arrested in April 2020 after posting a three-minute clip and was charged with inciting “debauchery” and “immorality” with the content. Although it was not always clear which videos and photos were of concern to the authorities, correspondents say.
Under Egyptian law, the charge of “inciting debauchery” is used against a range of offenses. The public prosecutor’s office often determines the charge as something that is “against Egyptian society’s traditions and morals”.
TikTok’s popularity in Egypt has skyrocketed in recent months, especially following the restrictions on movement imposed by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Human rights lawyer Negad El Borai tweeted that the incident confirmed: “there is a segment of society, with support of the state, that wants to eliminate any space for personal freedom in Egypt under the pretext of safeguarding Egyptian family values”.
More recently, A woman in Egypt was briefly detained after being accused of baking “indecent” cakes. The cakes were decorated with icing shaped as genitalia and underwear served at a birthday party at an exclusive Cairo sports club.
After photographs went viral, the baker was arrested and later released on $319 (£234) bail. There are reports that the partygoers may face legal action too.
A top religious body warned that such baked goods were forbidden by Islam.
Dar al-Ifta wrote on Facebook that products featuring sexual representations were “an assault on the value system and a crude abuse of society”.
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