Egypt releases three TikTokers detained on 'terrorist charges' for satirical food prices video

Egypt releases three TikTokers detained on 'terrorist charges' for satirical food prices video
Egyptian state security prosecution released three TikTokers over the weekend who satirised high food prices.
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
09 May, 2022
The three Tiktoker's crime was that they had criticised price hikes online. [Getty]

Egypt released three TikTokers over the weekend detained for a satirical sketch about escalating food prices, a prominent human rights group said in a statement.  

The three men, who are from southern Asyut province, are facing charges of being involved in a terrorist group and disseminating false news, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights Information (EIPR).

Details of their release remain unclear.

They were summoned to appear before the state security prosecution in Cairo and voluntarily turned themselves in on 31 March. They were only interrogated over two weeks later on 18 and 19 April, EIPR said. 

The men had earlier released sarcastic videos on TikTok in which they appeared in their local jellabiya outfits and turbans parodying a famous song by Egypt’s late legendary singer Abdel-Halim Hafez.

The words were changed to reflect a price hike of basic commodities resulting in their detention. Egypt's current regime is known for crushing all forms of criticism of government policies, including comedy sketches.

The TikTok page of the group that calls itself Zorafaa El-Ghalabaa ("The Poor’s Funnies") has over 140 million followers with some videos attracting more than 12 million views.

A rise in food prices has seen millions of Egyptians struggle to feed their families.

In April, Haneen Hossam, a female TikTok star was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of human trafficking at a retrial.  She had been accused of exploiting women for money by inviting them to make live videos on the social media platform for money, claims which she denies.  

Since taking power in 2014, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has governed the country with an iron fist and is frequently accused by local and international rights groups of overseeing "the worst crackdown on human rights, freedom of expression, and media in the country's modern history".