Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression

Sherifa Refaat (Sherry Hanem)

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Refaat, 46, and her daughter Nora are active on a number of social media platforms, most notably TikTok and YouTube. Refaat has 90,000 followers on TikTok, and the content they provided on various platforms garnered 7 million likes. Refaat posts satirical videos, in partnership with her daughter.

On 11 June 2020, a police force arrested Refaat and her daughter from an apartment in Cairo’s Heliopolis, under an arrest warrant issued by the Public Prosecution. This came after the Monitoring and Analysis Unit at the Public Prosecutor’s Office observed anger on social media, and after the Public Prosecution received several lawsuits, on top of which is the one lodged by lawyer Ashraf Farahat, which carried No. 36 of 2020.

The Public Prosecution charged Refaat with infringing on family values and principles, violating privacy, and posting indecent pictures and videos with the purpose of distribution and display. It also charged one of the two with soliciting prostitution and the other with assisting her, and creating personal accounts on the internet with the aim of committing these crimes.

On 29 July 2020, the Public Prosecution referred Refaat and her daughter to the Economic Court, which on 30 September sentenced both of them to six years in prison and fined them 100,000 pounds each. The court also ordered police supervision of them for a period of 3 years.

On 14 March 2021, the court of appeal set 9 May 2021 for deciding on the appeal submitted by the defendants’ lawyer. Then, the session was adjourned to 13 June.

On June 13, 2021, the appeals circuit at the Cairo Economic Court, reduced the sentence of Refaat and her daughter to 5 years, which also fined them 1000,000 LE.

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