Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (30 July) following the sentencing of a number of Egyptian female bloggers and social media influencers:
I am troubled by the series of arrests and rulings against young female influencers and bloggers in Egypt. Mowada al-Adham and Haneen Hossam are the latest women against whom absurdly long prison sentences have been passed and high fines imposed. This way of restricting freedom of expression, which targets in particular young women who communicate very successfully on a wide range of topics on social media, must be soundly rejected! These sentences, passed on questionable legal bases, have the aim of intimidating a whole generation of courageous young women. The German Government regularly addresses human rights, above all the right to free expression, in talks with representatives of the Egyptian Government. During my visit to Cairo last year I saw for myself the massive human rights violations and repression of civil society and the opposition, and spoke critically about these issues during my talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo. I have continued to speak out about these issues ever since.
Over the past weeks, a number of young women with prominent profiles in social media have been arrested in Egypt. Early this week, the first convictions against several of these young female influencers were announced, including prison sentences of up to three years.