This is a first in Egypt since the vote, in 2018, the law is supposed to combat cybercrime. Five women who have become famous thanks to social networks have been sentenced to two years in prison, on the 27th of July. A sixth has been sentenced to three years farm, July 29. Arrested between April and July, they will also have to pay a fine of eur 16 000 each. Sentences deemed too lenient by the public prosecutor, who had demanded the maximum is five years in prison.
Their crimes ? "Incitement to debauchery ", " violation of family values egyptian ", the dissemination of content concerning "morals" and even for some of them, " trafficking in human beings ". These influenceuses twenty years have had the misfortune to take the stage on the social networks behind the wheel of a luxury car, dressed as a shark, or even jiggle on a song électropop local. The application TikTok, specializing in the sharing of short videos, is very popular with young audiences.
Return to "the moral order"
" Of videos trivial that does not infringe any law, because there are no regulations that prohibits dancing or to wear such a garment ", lambasted the lawyer, feminist Intissar al-Said. But the millions of views and the advertising revenue generated by these videos of a few seconds bother. In the name of moral order, of the commentators male violently attacked, and the justice has followed suit.
" It is a return to the 1990s, when we had the sheiks who took to the vice squad and pursued all those who displeased. The company has evolved, but the current conservative remains very powerful, and many play the role of father-the-modesty, by bringing us back to the past, " says Intissar al-Said, head of the centre for development and the right.
A special unit to monitor social networks
"what Al-Sisi is better than the muslim brotherhood [islamist organization banned by the current regime] ?" queries the website of egyptian Al-Bawaba, inaccessible in Egypt, as blocked by the authorities. "Fortunately, the muslim brotherhood are not in power otherwise they would have detained women dancing to TikTok. They would be ridiculed to chase women, while ignoring the coronavirus, but thanks be to God, Sissi saved us ", mocking a user cited by the Web site.
For the past seven years, the country is ruled by field marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, twice elected with more than 96 % of the vote after having imprisoned his predecessor, islamist, and more than 60,000 opponents, according to the NGOS. For the military to return to power was also accompanied by an increased repression of artists and writers. Several have been prosecuted in recent years.
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In the fall of 2019, a special unit to monitor social networks has been created and placed under the authority of the public prosecutor of the Republic. "They can't stop tens of thousands of internet users so they concentrate on a few women. In their heads, men are never responsible in the affairs of morals. If a man sends sexual messages, for example, it is the woman who will be blamed, " says Makarios Lahzy, a lawyer who has participated in the defense of Hanin Hossam, followed by 1.2 million users of the application chinese TikTok.
Nicknamed the 4th pyramid of Egypt by these fans, this student in archeology, has attracted attention by encouraging other young women to produce live video and paid. Its detractors have seen the promotion of a network of prostitution. Sentenced to two years in prison, the wife of 22-year-old almost fainted in the court in Cairo. "Investigators have searched his phone and his computer, but have found no message licentious or evidence to support their accusations. In condemning them heavily, the State wanted to make an example to deter other women from imitating him, " says the lawyer. The application chinese launched in 2018 has been tremendously successful in Egypt, especially among adolescents. On the 7.2 million accounts, 38 % belong to women.
New wave #MeToo
In response to these convictions, previously unpublished, activists have launched a campaign on social networks to demand the release of the " TikTok girls ", with the word-hash ironic "with the permission of the family" on the social networks. A petition also concerns the national Council of women.
a month ago, this agency attached to the government was publicly committed to dozens of rape victims who were united against their attackers, from the jeunesse dorée of Cairo. This scandal had triggered a new wave of denunciation of gender-based violence in Egypt.
In the case of "TikTok," which divided the egyptian society, the national Council of women has for the moment chosen to remain silent. The young women have planned to make the call.