Egypt: Two bloggers arrested and the same accusation ready!

The competent investigative authorities in Egypt have ordered the imprisonment of Mohamed Hossam El-Din, known as “Bissa” and Basma Hegazi, known as “Warda”, for 15 days pending investigations.

The investigation authorities accused the defendants of joining a terrorist group targeting spreading false news and disturbing public peace and security, reported Russia Today.

Also, Al Jazeera Egypt reported the news on its Twitter account stating: “Content creators Mohamed Hossam “Bissa” and Basma Hegazi “Warda” were arrested on charges of joining a “terrorist” group and spreading false news. The Public Prosecution orders gives them 15 days in custody.”

The Egyptian lawyer, Hoda Abdel-Wahhab, had also revealed the arrest of the bloggers Bissa and Warda in a post on her page on the social networking site “Facebook”.

The prosecution orders came after the concerned investigative authorities monitored Basma Hegazi broadcasting false news and accused her of joining a terrorist group.

The competent investigation authorities also decided to imprison Mohamed Hossam El-Din, simply after accusing him of joining a terrorist group and exploiting the publication of videos containing false information.

Blogger Basma Hegazi, who resides in Moharram Bey, central Alexandria, recently appeared on social media, presenting video clips; while blogger Mohamed Hossam presents content on various networking sites.

In April 2022, an Egyptian court sentenced Haneen Hossam, a well-known TikTok female influencer, to three years in prison after her retrial conviction for human trafficking in a case that involved girls introducing artistic performances in videos on TikTok.

The TikTok star was arrested alongside fellow influencer Mowada al-Adham in April 2020 after she encouraged her followers to broadcast their own videos online. She was handed a two-year sentence for “violating family values and principles” in July 2020 but acquitted on appeal before prosecutors introduced the more serious charge of human trafficking.

She was then sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison last June, and her retrial—to which she was entitled in light of her previous conviction being in absentia—has now resulted in a three-year sentence instead.

The case of the social media influencer Haneen Hossam was seen by critics as part of a crackdown on self expression by government officials in conservative Egypt.

However, prosecutors had accused her of promoting human trafficking by allegedly exploiting minor girls to gain material benefits with dance videos. It wasn’t clear how the videos were related to human trafficking.

Hossam, in her early 20s, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison but a Cairo Criminal Court judge Monday reduced it to three years. She was also fined 200,000 Egyptian pounds ($10,800).

Hossam and other women, including TikTok influencer Mawada Eladhm, were first sentenced in July 2020 to two years in prison on convictions for “violating the values and principles of the Egyptian family,” inciting debauchery and promoting human trafficking.

An appeals court overturned the sentences and both women were released.

But prosecutors appealed the decision and accused them of human trafficking. The Cairo Criminal Court subsequently sentenced Hossam in June to 10 years in prison while Eladhm got a six-year-sentence.

Hossam appealed that ruling and she was retried by a different judge, who on Monday reduced her sentence to three years.

In June 2021, a court in Cairo sentenced a female TikTok influencer, Renad, to three years in prison for “violating society’s values and principles.”

Minatullah Emad, known as Renad Emad, was arrested in July last year from a cafe in the Dokki neighborhood of Cairo.

During her interrogation Renad allegedly admitted that she had engaged in prostitution with young men for money.

The prosecution also accused her of taking part in human trafficking and “exploiting” her younger sister to get hits.

Over the past year several female social media influencers have been arrested and charged with immorality, debauchery and violating family values after they created videos of themselves singing and dancing or modelled clothes.

Another influencer, Manar Samy, was accused of “stirring up instincts” after she posted a video of herself dancing on a beach, fully clothed.

The charges have been slammed by rights campaigners as degrading and bogus.

In August last year more than 80,000 people signed a petition to put pressure on the Egyptian government to release what have become known as the TikTok women.

In May 2021, 15 human rights organizations including the Committee for Justice signed a statement condemning the continued prosecution and trial of TikTok and Likee content creators including Renad.

The organizations demanded that the Egyptian authorities stop these trials, release the defendants, and close the cases.

“The undersigned organizations affirm that these trials reflect the Egyptian authorities’ hostile attitude towards citizens’ free use of the internet,” said the statement.

“These trials also show how authorities are seeking to monitor social media accounts through the police and the public prosecution on the pretext of protecting family values.”

News of Renad’s sentence comes shortly after the son of a business tycoon who killed Mai Iskander whilst driving his car under the influence of drugs was acquitted.

Haitham Kamel Abou Ali was driving the wrong way up the road in Hurghada when he hit the car Mai was travelling in.

The case echoes the Fairmont Hotel rape trial in which critics questioned to what extent the accused would be punished considering they are sons of top businessmen and senior officials in Egypt.