At least three TikTokers detained in Egypt for 'prison parody' video

At least three TikTokers detained in Egypt for 'prison parody' video
At least three social media creators were arrested and detained in Egypt for posting a video about a parody prison visit.
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'The visit' video registered more than seven million views and 254,000 likes on TikTok [source: Getty]

At least three Egyptian TikTokers have been put in pretrial detention for posting a parody video of a prison visit. 

Basma Hegazi, Mohamed Hosam, and Ahmad Ali El-Khouly were arrested on 25 January for creating a video titled "the visit" in which they played comic thugs and savvy heroines set in a jail. 

The trio were accused of spreading fake news and belonging to a terrorist organisation, a charge that has been used against perceived opponents of the regime, which has included even satirical social media creators in Egypt. 

"Every Egyptian now who isn't worshipping [President Abdel Fattah al-] Sisi is accused of [belonging to a terrorist group] regardless of what they did," wrote Mona Seif, sister of detained Egyptian-British blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, on Twitter alongside a picture of Basma and Mohamed. 

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The three content creators were placed in pretrial detention on 29 January for 15 days as authorities conduct an investigation into their alleged activities. 

They join a long list of Egyptian journalists and social media users who have been detained by authorities for posting content deemed to be critical of the government or "Egyptian values". 

Five female TikTok influencers were convicted of human trafficking in Egypt last year over content posted on the social media app. 

Haneen Hossam, among the five, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for encouraging young women to join and post content on the video-sharing platform Likee in exchange for money.

Amnesty said the TikToker detentions were an attempt "to control cyberspace by policing women's bodies and conduct". 

The detention of the latest content creators comes just as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, and reportedly raised the issue of human rights abuses with Cairo officials.