Egypt: TikTok influencer condemned to three years of prison

Egypt:  TikTok influencer condemned to three years of prison

Shortly after news last week informed about the arrest of Egyptian journalist Jamal al-Jamal and retired colleague Tawfiq Ghanem were arrested, TikTok influencer Minatullah Emad, also known as Renad Emad, has been condemned to three years of prison.

Emad was arrested last July in Cairo, and after interrogation, she admitted that she had engaged in prostitution with young men. She was also accused of “human trafficking and exploitation” for involving her younger sister.

This could be the last episode within Al-Sisi’s alleged crackdown on dissidence and freedom of speech, which mainly involves journalists but sometimes also other content creators, showing how authorities also monitor social media and free use of the internet. 

Throughout last year, other female social media influencers that posted videos dancing or singing had been arrested, accused of posting “indecent videos” and charged for inciting “debauchery” and “immorality”, as it was the case of Mawada al-Adham and Haneen Hossam among others. 

Last August, a petition that aimed at putting pressure on the Egyptian Government to free “TikTok women” was signed by about 80,000 people. And in fact, some were allegedly freed in January, according to local media.

However, continuous prosecution is still a problem, and numerous human rights organizations issued a statement condemning the continued trial of TikTok and other content creators to guarantee Freedom of Expression. In it, they also stated their concern about Rena Emad’s case.

The statement cited the dubious legal basis for these accusations on content creators (Article 25 of Law No. 175 of 2018 on Combating Information Technology Crimes), arguing that it violates the constitution and contains vague terms that criminalize the right to Freedom of Expression.