Haneen Hossam(L) and Mawda Eladham(R)
A Cairo appeals court acquitted on Tuesday two well-known TikTok influencers, Haneen Hossam and Mawada Eladhm, who had been previously sentenced to two years in prison and received a hefty fine for violating family values and principles.
The court also acquitted three other defendants sentenced in the same case.
In late July, a Cairo court sentenced the five defendants to two years in prison and fined the two influencers EGP 300,000 (around $19,000).
The defendants were referred to the criminal court in June by the prosecution on charges of “violating family values and principles and establishing and running online accounts to commit this crime.”
Mawada Eladhm, who is in her early 20s, was arrested on 14 May after she fled her residence at an upscale New Cairo gated community, moving around between Cairo and the North Coast after an arrest warrant was issued against her.
Eladhm, who has 3.1 million followers on TikTok and 1.6 million followers on Instagram, gained fame for posting lip syncing and dance videos.
Haneen Hossam, a university student who has 1.2 million followers on TikTok, was arrested on 21 April on charges of inciting debauchery and human trafficking.
Her arrest came a few days after she posted a video on TikTok encouraging women to publish live videos and talk with strangers, via short video sharing platform Likee, in exchange for money.
The three other defendants were charged with helping one of the women evade arrest, concealing evidence of the crime, and publishing materials to influence public opinion about the case.
One of the three other defendants was also charged with possessing unauthorised and illegal software for the purpose of using it to facilitate committing these crimes.
Over the past months, Egyptian authorities have arrested numerous female TikTok users who are known for controversial content that authorities describe as “violating family values and principles.”