An Egyptian court sentenced several young women to two years in prison for posting dance videos on TikTok.
The women were also fined 300,000 Egyptian pounds i.e. approximately US$19,000 each for “violating the values and principles of the Egyptian family,” inciting debauchery and promoting human trafficking, according to a statement from the public prosecutor.
The prosecution statement named just two of the defendants, 20-year-old student Haneen Hossam and 22-year-old Mawada Eladhm and said three others helped them run their social media accounts.
Both women amassing millions of followers for their video snippets on TikTok. In their respective 15-second clips, the women wearing makeup pose in cars, dance in kitchens and joke in skits.
But their social media stardom became their undoing in Egypt, where citizens can land in prison for vague crimes such as “misusing social media,” “disseminating fake news,” or “inciting debauchery and immorality.”
Their lawyers vowed to appeal the ruling.
Although Egypt remains far more liberal than Gulf Arab states, the Muslim-majority country has swung conservative direction over the past half-century. Many pop divas and social media influencers have faced backlash recently.
Critics describe this as a further crackdown on self-expression in the conservative society.