Five Egyptian content creators arrested over comedy video of prison visit

Rights groups decry legal basis of arrests and lawyers are unsure what warranted such action

The five face charges of joining a terrorist group, funding terrorism, publishing false news online and utilising social media accounts to commit acts of terrorism. Reuters
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Five content creators were arrested in Cairo after posting a comedy video about an Egyptian jail.

The video, titled “The Visit”, shows a woman visiting her fiance in prison. Aside from the two main characters, who were played by prominent content creators Basma Hegazy and Mohamed Hossam, the video also features three side characters: a prison guard, a friend and a police officer.

Hossam has more than one million followers on Facebook and Hegazy has more than 200,000 on TikTok.

The video was published on January 13 and has since garnered more than seven million views on Facebook.

The five content creators were arrested last week by National Security agents, according to Reuters.

Prosecutors ordered their pretrial detention for 15 days, a routine procedure in ongoing cases.

The five face charges of “joining a terrorist group, funding terrorism, publishing false news online, utilising social media accounts to commit acts of terrorism,” Mokhtar Mounir, a lawyer for two of the detainees said.

Such charges are commonly levied against activists and members of opposition groups for acts deemed by authorities as undermining state security.

Rights groups such as the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the Egyptian Front for Human Rights have decried the legal basis of the arrests and the detainees’ lawyers are not clear on what specifically in the video warranted the detentions.

Arrests of content creators are not uncommon in Egypt, where rigid ideas of “family values” have landed a number of women in jail over videos demonstrating “debauchery”.

In April, a group of content creators were arrested for creating a spoof video about the rising cost of living.

Updated: February 01, 2023, 6:42 PM