Egyptian TikToker Jailed For Three Years For ‘Inciting Debauchery’
An Egyptian TikTok user has become the sixth woman to be jailed over posts on the platform after she was found to be ‘inciting debauchery’.
Like many social media users, Manar Samy regularly shares videos of herself lip-syncing and dancing along to songs, either filming herself alone or sharing the screen with others to entertain her followers.
The videos rack up thousands of views and comments from other users, but her posts weren’t appreciated by everyone, as Samy was arrested earlier this month after officials found her posts to be inappropriate.
See one of Samy’s TikTok videos below:
Samy was accused of ‘inciting debauchery, immorality and stirring up instincts’ through her online videos, according to a prosecution statement cited by Yahoo! News.
Though her posts don’t appear to be particularly scandalous, prosecutors said they were ‘offensive to public decency’ and claimed they had been posted ‘with the aim of committing prostitution’.
The TikToker’s bail was set at 20,000 Egyptian pounds (£9,600) and she has now been sentenced to three years in jail, with the verdict including a fine of 300,000 Egyptian pounds (£14,600). A judicial source said the verdict can be appealed.
Samy’s lawyer, Hani Basyoni, told AFP the ‘bail has been paid but her release could be postponed until after the Eid al-Adha holiday ends on Monday’. The court has also scheduled an appeal hearing for August 15, he added.
Samy is the sixth TikTok user to be jailed over the platform recently, with another court sentencing five female social media influencers, including Haneen Hossam and Mowada al-Adham, to two years each in jail for posting ‘indecent’ content.
The arrests come as part of Egyptian authorities’ campaign against social media influencers, which attempts to further police the behaviour of women in the country.
Commenting on the decision to jail the five influencers, as per the Guardian, women’s rights lawyer Intissar al-Saeed said:
The verdict is shocking, though it was expected. We will see what happens on appeal. It is still a dangerous indicator… Regardless of the divergent views on the content presented by the girls on TikTok, it still is not a reason for imprisonment.
Egyptian officials often consider social media to be a threat against ‘society’s traditions and morals’, and in recent years the country has made moves to restrict the freedom residents have online by jailing people over social media posts and banning at least 500 news sites.
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