Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression

Haneen Hossam

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Hossam, 20, is a second-grade student at the Faculty of Archeology, Cairo University. She became famous after the number her followers on TikTok and Likee increased. Her followers on TikTok alone reached 986,000. The content she provides on her various social media accounts garnered 7.5 million likes. She usually posts music and dance videos on social media.

On 21 April 2020, a police force arrested Hossam from her home in the Sahel neighborhood, north of Cairo, in possession of two mobile phones and a laptop. She was arrested upon a warrant issued by the Public Prosecution against the background of a number of lawsuits and complaints received by the Public Prosecutor’s office. On top of these lawsuits was that filed by lawyer Abdel-Rahman al-Gohary, which carried No. 177 of 2020.

This came after she posted a video clip in which she called on girls to use a video sharing app and show their multiple talents to create content for display to followers, thus making money that might increase if the number of followers increased.

After interrogating Hossam, the Public Prosecution remanded her in custody for four days, pending investigation into lawsuit No. 1087 of 2020, registered under No. 1047 of 2020 at the financial misdemeanour court. Then, she was further remanded in custody for another 15 days. On 7 May 2020, the Abbassiya court decided to release her on a bail of 50,000 pounds, but the prosecution appealed the decision, demanding her detention be extended. Two days after the decision to release her was made, the court accepted the prosecution’s appeal and extended Hossam’s detention for another 15 days. On 8 June, the court accepted the appeal submitted by Hossam’s defence lawyer, and decided to release her on a bail of 10,000 pounds. Three days after the decision to release her was made for the second time, the Public Prosecution decided on 11 June 2020 to refer Hossam, Mawaddah al-Adham and three others to a criminal court, while keeping them in detention. Hossam’s detention was extended after facing her with new evidence that resulted from examining the electronic devices seized with her.

After the Public Prosecution requested that the assets of Hossam and al-Adham should be frozen, the Cairo Criminal Court decided on 16 July to postpone the examination of the case, but it agreed to the prosecution’s request in its next session. Thirty-seven days after the prosecution decided to refer Hossam to a criminal court, specifically on 27 July 2020, the Economic Court sentenced her to two years in prison and ordered her to pay a fine of 300,000 pounds, on charges of infringing on family values ​​and principles via social media.

On 12 January 2021, the Cairo Economic Court found Hossam not guilty of the two charges levelled against her in cases No. 246 of 2020 and No. 479 of 2020.

For its part, the complaints committee of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) recommended that Hossam’s account be blocked as part of the committee’s call for blocking a number of accounts whose owners represent electronic agencies that promote disguised prostitution. Also, after Hossam’s arrest, Head of Cairo University Dr. Mohamed al-Khosht decided to refer Hossam to interrogation over her “behaviours that violated public morals, and university values ​​and traditions”. After Hossam’s case was referred to the Public Prosecution, the university suspended the interrogation until the results of the prosecution’s investigation are revealed. After the court acquitted Hossam, the university dropped her case and allowed her to attend the exams normally.

The Public Prosecution referred Hossam to the Cairo Criminal Court during the course of the first case examined by the Economic Court, but this time on charges of “human trafficking, using girls in works that violate the principles and values of society to obtain money, and exploiting the girls’ poor financial conditions and their need for money”. “This crime was committed by an organized criminal group for the purposes of human trafficking. It involved the defendant [Hossam] and others.” On 18 April 2021, the Cairo Criminal Court ordered the arrest of Hossam on charges of human trafficking, and adjourned her trial to 18 May.

The court has adjourned the trial to 20 June.

On June 21, 2021, in absentia the Cairo Criminal Court has ruled the imprisonment of Haneen Hosam with 10 years and a fine of 200,000 EGP in case No. 4917 of 2020, Sahel Felonies, registered under No. 2016 of 2020 North Cairo.

On June 22, 2021, the Sentence Execution Department, managed to arrest Haneen Hosam, several hours after she published a video calling on President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to intervene to solve her crisis.

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