from AHMED MOOLA in Cairo, Egypt
CAIRO, (CAJ News) – EGYPTIAN authorities have arrested 15 people, including a girl (17), during a crackdown targeting female social media influencers.
Human rights groups raised concern after the victims were slapped with charges that violate their rights to privacy, freedom of expression and nondiscrimination.
The 17-year-old girl has been arrested after posting a video about being beaten and raped.
She is now facing charges such as violating “public morals” and “undermining family values.”
Three of those arrested are men accused of aiding women, most of who have been arrested based on what authorities said were “indecent” videos on social media applications.
Courts have already sentenced two women and the three men to two years in prison.
Two other women have been sentenced to three years in separate incidents.
The remaining seven women and the girl face ongoing prosecutions.
Those prosecuted have large followings on social media.
Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said arresting women and girls on vague grounds for posting videos and photos of themselves on social media sites was discriminatory and violates their right to free expression.
“Policing women’s peaceful conduct online smacks of a new effort to control women’s use of public spaces,” she said.
These prosecutions are the first use of morality charges under the 2018 cybercrimes law.
Authorities have also waged against independent women’s and human rights groups.
Some leading independent women’s rights activists have been prosecuted and banned from leaving the North African country.
Their offices have been shut.
– CAJ News