A court in Egypt has sentenced five young women to two years in prison for posting “indecent videos” on the video-sharing app TikTok.
The women – who have not all been named – were fined almost $19,000 (£15,000).
The jail sentences are the first to have been issued by a court as part of a campaign by the authorities against social media influencers.
Activists have mounted an online campaign in response, demanding the release of those detained.
“The Economic Court in Cairo sentenced Mawada al-Adham and Haneen Hossam and three others to two years in prison and fined them 300,000 Egyptian pounds each,” the state-owned website al-Ahram reported.
“They are accused of violating the values and principles of Egyptian society and posting indecent photos and videos disturbing to public morals,” al-Ahram added.
The three women who were not named were also accused of taking part in inappropriate video calls with men.
This is the first sentence issued by a court against female social media influencers in Egypt after a series of arrests made recently, most targeting women who are popular on TikTok.
Hossam was arrested in April after posting a three-minute clip telling her 1.3m followers that girls could make money by working with her, the AFP news agency reports.
Adham was arrested in May after posting satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram, where she has at least 2m followers.
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They have been charged with inciting “debauchery” and “immorality” with the content they post on the video-sharing platform, although it is not always clear which videos and photos are of concern to the authorities, correspondents say.
Under Egyptian law, the charge of “inciting debauchery” is used against a range of offences.
The public prosecutor’s office often determines the charge as something that is “against Egyptian society’s traditions and morals”.
TikTok’s popularity in Egypt has skyrocketed in recent months, especially following the restrictions on movement imposed by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19, reports say.
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