The Cairo Economic Appeals Court issued a verdict earlier today acquitting Haneen Hossam of charges of violating Egyptian family values and overturning Mawada Al Adham’s prison sentence, Youm7 reports.
The verdict was handed down to the two TikTokers, along with three alleged accomplices, accused of aiding and facilitating the misdemeanor. The court has struck down an earlier ruling sentencing the defendants to two years in prison and fining them EGP 300,000 each. The court did, however, uphold the fine for Al Adham and another defendant, according to Al Watan News.
Hossam and Al Adham were arrested last year and sentenced to prison in July 2020 by the Cairo Economic Court after being found guilty of violating Egyptian family values and inciting debauchery. The prosecution accused them of human trafficking and running social media accounts with the aim of recruiting young women for video sharing platform Likee, as well as publishing video content deemed inappropriate by authorities—charges the two women have vehemently denied.
According to Cairo 24, the defense team for both Hossam and Al Adham closed their arguments by defending civil rights in Egypt, saying that the charges disregard the country’s history, its modernity and character. One counsel member argued that the subject of the charges facing the defendants are progressive ideas and Egyptian values present in the country’s media and television and that the charges against them represent a complete disregard of civil liberties, justice and judicial logic. He also added that the charges were based on assumptions and delusions.
The two are among a dozen women—including then 17-year-old rape victim Menna Abdel Aziz—arrested last year on similar charges (namely, inciting debauchery and violating Egyptian family values). This wave of arrests has been compared to a witch-hunt targeting women from low income backgrounds and sparked outrage from women’s rights groups and human rights defenders.