10:37 GMT25 July 2021
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    Haneen Hossam, 20, was one of two TikTok influencers who received a lengthy prison sentence from a Cairo court on Sunday. Hossam, who was sentenced on human trafficking charges, was reportedly given a lengthier sentence over her failure to appear in court.

    Hossam was arrested by Egyptian police in a Cairo suburb on Tuesday, two days after she was sentenced to 10 years behind bars. 

    Saber Sokkar, the 20-year-old's lawyer, told AFP on Monday that she was one of five sentenced by a Cairo criminal court for "corrupting family values, inciting debauchery and encouraging young women to practice sexual relations." 

    Hossam, who has around a million subscribers on TikTok, was previously arrested in April 2020 for posting a video encouraging her female viewers to join Likee, a separate video-sharing platform.

    At the time, prosecutors argued that she was "violating family values and principles," the BBC reported

    Hossam, a Cairo University student, then served several months behind bars. 

    In a viral video published on Monday, Hossam tearfully pleaded to Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi for a pardon, arguing that she did nothing "immoral." 

    "10 years! I didn’t do anything immoral to deserve all this. I was jailed for 10 months and didn’t say a word after I was released ... Why do you want to jail me again?" she asked, according to a translation. 

    As of this article's publication, her 12-minute plea has been viewed more than 2.8 million times.  

    Sokkar said that Hossam was handed a lengthier sentence for not appearing in court, even though "it was her legal right not to show up." 

    Her co-defendant, fellow TikTok influencer Mawada al-Adham, was present at the trial and only received six years behind bars. Both were sentenced on the same charges. 

    Reda Eldanbouki, executive director of the Women's Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness, told the BBC that the court's ruling against the women was "harsh and exaggerated" and further contributed to the restriction of women's autonomy. 


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    human trafficking, influencer, social media, police, Cairo, Egypt, TikTok
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