Egypt’s Public Prosecution issued an order on Thursday to detain Haneen Hossam and Mawada Al Adham pending investigation into charges of human trafficking, Al Masry Al Youm reports. According to Youm7, a North Cairo court has issued a ruling to renew their detention for another 15 days.
This comes following a ruling issued by the Cairo Economic Court of Appeals earlier this week that acquitted Hossam of charges of violating Egyptian family values and overturned a two-year prison sentence handed down to Al Adham in 2020 by a lower court.
The two were arrested last year, sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay a EGP 300,000 fine each by the Cairo Economic Court, which found them guilty of violating Egyptian family values and inciting debauchery.
The prosecution is accusing both defendants of human trafficking and running social media accounts with the aim of recruiting young women for a video-sharing platform, as well as publishing video content deemed inappropriate by authorities—charges they have vehemently denied.
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.