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Convicted Egyptian TikTok influencer, Haneen Hossam gets reduced jail term for ‘human trafficking’

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The lawyer of Haneen Hossam, the 20-year-old social media influencer who was sentenced to ten years in prison last year has revealed that the sentence has been reduced to three years after a retrial of the case.

The Egyptian social media influencer, Haneen Hossam, was charged with “human trafficking” last year.

The reduction came after her case returned to court under a routine process because she was no longer in absentia.

Her sentence, against which she can still appeal, has therefore been “reduced”, her lawyer Hussein al-Baqar revealed in a tweet, saying that with 21 months already spent behind bars, his client could “consider her new sentence as an acquittal”.

Haneen Hossam, the TikTok influencer who is in her early 20s, was accused of exploiting girls for money through video-sharing platforms by inviting her followers to get paid for making live videos.

She however denied the charge but was convicted with a ten-year prison sentence in absentia in June last year.

Censorship of freedom of expression is gaining ground in Egypt. Amnesty International reports that social media influencers Hanin Hossam and Mawada el-Adham were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms by Cairo’s Criminal Court on 20 June for inciting “indecent” content, human trafficking and other offences. Amnesty International believes that young women are being punished for the way they dance, talk, dress and attempt to “influence” the public on social media and calls for their immediate release.

In reaction to the retrial verdict, Hossam’s lawyer, Mai el-Sadany tweeted again – “What does it mean for an Egyptian court to convict  on “human trafficking” charges? It means that the justice system is criminalizing what influencers globally do every day when they invite others to work with them and monetize TikTok activity”

“The justice system is criminalizing what all influencers do every day: invite others to work with them to monetize their business on TikTok.”

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South African serial rapist gets four life imprisonment terms

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A South African serial rapist and killer, Philani Justice Nkosi, has been sentenced to four life imprisonment terms by a Mpumalanga High Court for rape and murder.

The court also sentenced the 35-year-old to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of murdering one of his victims who recognised him.

Nkosi was sentenced on Friday after the court found him guilty of one count of murder, three counts of rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, who expressed satisfaction with the sentence, said Nkosi committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 in Bhuga Trust and Halfway Trust in KaBokweni.

“In one incident which stands out, the accused attacked a 12-year-old victim while she was on the way to the local shop. He dragged her to the nearby bush, raped and strangled her to death,” Nyuswa said.

“He also raped another woman in March 2016, stabbed and robbed her of cash.

“The accused continued with his crime spree until December 2018 when he raped an adult woman who was on her way home from work.

“The matter was reported to the police, and the accused was subsequently arrested and linked to other crimes through DNA,” Nyuswa said.

Nkosi who pleaded not guilty to the crimes, claimed the two rape survivors were prostitutes and that the deceased was his girlfriend.

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Tanzanian court sentences 11 people to death for killing South African conservationist

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A Tanzanian High Court has sentenced 11 people to death after they were found guilty of killing a South African conservationist, Wayne Lotter, who was murdered in Dar es Salaam in 2017.

The convicts include nine Tanzanians and two citizens of neighbouring Burundi.

The victim was a renowned anti-poaching activist who was singled out by the convicts for disrupting their illegal poaching activities, according to prosecutors while testifying in court on Friday.

State prosecutors told Judge Leila Mgonya that the 51-year-old Lotter who was based in Tanzania, was a founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO which worked to stop the poaching of elephants and trafficking of ivory in the East African country.

He was shot dead in Dar es Salaam when the taxi he was travelling in was ambushed and though the exact motive for his killing is still unknown, his colleagues believe he was singled out for his work on protecting elephants, local media reports.

While handing down the death sentences, Judge Mgonya said there was compelling evidence that linked the 11 to the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder on which they were charged

“Some of the suspects, in their statements recorded by police officers, confessed to have taken part in the conspiracy meetings and in killing. The evidence provided was strong enough to convict them,” the judge said.

Tanzania is one of the worst hit African countries in terms of elephant poaching, with a data released early this year noting that more than 66,000 elephants have been lost in the last 10 years due to the activities of illegal poachers.

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