By: Committee for Justice
Geneva: January 31, 2023
Since Sunday, Egyptian authorities have arrested three vloggers on charges of joining a terrorist group and spreading false news.
Imprisonment for 15 days:
Egyptian security forces arrested content creators Mohamed Hossam (known as Bessa), Basma Hegazy (known as Warda) on Sunday and Ahmed Tariq (known as chocolate) on Monday. The authorities brought them to the Supreme State Security Prosecution, which decided to hold them for 15 days in detention pending investigations.
Hossam has been popular on social media for posting comic videos accompanied by Hegazy. He was arrested after publishing a satirical video entitled “The Visit”, which talks about visiting a detainee inside the police station.
Random charges and unfair trials:
CFJ condemns Egypt’s crackdown on content creators and the continuation of arbitrary arrests and terrorism charges against them. We stress that these procedures open the door to unfair trials for online video creators, and that their case is politically motivated.
CFJ calls for an end to targeting content creators, the immediate release of those arrested, and an end to charges of terrorism.
Not the first time:
This is not the first time that the Egyptian authorities have arrested social media influencers. Another content creator, Moka Hegazy, was detained and sentenced to two years in prison for her social media posts.
Likewise, several TikTok influencers were detained in 2020 and charged based on Article 25 of the Information Technology Crimes Law, against the background of complaints filed against them by men and lawyers after they were accused of “destroying the values of society and attacking the values of the Egyptian family.”