CAIRO: The defendants in the case known as the “TikTok Girls” faced their first criminal hearing on June 15.
The defendants, Haneen Hossam and Mawada Eladhm, are accused of violating family principles and values in Egypt and inciting debauchery. They were also charged with creating private accounts online for purposes of decadence.
The two are currently facing nine charges as well as three felonies. Most prominently, they are accused of participating in soliciting and exploiting girls through live broadcasting, violating the values and principles of the Egyptian family, human trafficking, sharing videos that incite immorality in order to increase their viewership and followers, and encouraging teenage girls to publicly share videos similar to theirs in terms of immorality.
They were also charged with fleeing justice and attempting to disguise and encrypt their phones and social media accounts.
“I didn’t do anything that deserves this punishment. All of Egypt is on the app (TikTok) posting content,” Eladhm, who reportedly has 3.1 million followers on the popular social network, said during her hearing.
If the pair are convicted over the accusation of publishing inappropriate images and videos, they will be given jail terms of up to two years and forced to pay a fine of up to 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($618). The punishments are in line with publishing inappropriate images according to Article 178 of the Egyptian law on such penalties.
If they are convicted of encouraging prostitution through social media, they will face a prison sentence of a maximum of three years and a fine that could reach 100 pounds ($6). Again, such punishment is imposed on anyone who promotes prostitution, according to Article 14 of Law No. 10 of 1960.
The public prosecution had ordered Hossam and Eladhm as well as three other defendants to be referred to a criminal trial. The decision came after Hossam, a Cairo University archaeology student who has 1.2 million followers on the social media app, was reimprisoned after being faced with new evidence that resulted in her electronic devices being seized.
Cairo Economic Court delayed an initial hearing into the case to June 29.
Hossam and Eladhm are not the only TikTok creators to get in trouble with Egyptian law. On June 14, the judge in the South Giza Court renewed the detention period of the defendant, popular TikTok star Menna Abdel-Aziz, for 15 additional days as the investigation surrounding the case is still in progress.
Authorities revealed that 17-year-old Abdel-Aziz was physically assaulted and raped. Authorities also revealed that Abdel-Aziz was robbed of her phone and cash, which were on her possession, by a male friend who allegedly assaulted her, while another reportedly raped her.
A female friend of Abdel-Aziz is said to have filmed the incident, then went on to publicly share some of what she filmed on social media.
Video-sharing platforms such as TikTok have been gaining popularity in Egypt in recent years, but their content creators have been condemned for making videos in which they dress and behave in a way that many in Egypt deem suggestive, inappropriate and against the law.