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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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Sudan recalls Ambassador from Addis Ababa after accusing Ethiopia of executing soldiers

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Sudan has recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia after accusing the Ethiopian army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian who had been held in captivity.

The Sudanese military had said on Sunday that the Ethiopian soldiers had executed the captives and displayed their bodies in public while negotiations were ongoing for their release, promising that there would be “an appropriate response” to the execution.

“It is an act that contravenes all laws and customs of war and international humanitarian law, the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a citizen who were their captives.

“This treacherous act will not pass without a response,” the Sudanese military said.

The Ethiopian government however, denied complicity by its military in the killing of the Sudanese soldiers, blaming the Sudanese forces for crossing into its territory and provoking a clash.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa, issued a statement expressing regret over the incident but said Ethiopia has been misrepresented.

“The Government of Ethiopia categorically rejects the misrepresentation of these facts by the Sudanese defense forces that unjustly put the blame on Ethiopia, while it was the Sudanese army unit that crossed (over) the Ethiopian border, provoking the incident.”

But in an announcement late Monday, Sudan said it would recall its envoy from Addis Ababa as well as summon the Ethiopian ambassador from Khartoum.

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Uganda’s Government changes position, invites striking art teachers for negotiations

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The Ugandan government has made a turn on its decision to sack all arts teachers involved in the industrial action.

The change in position comes barely days after the government threatened to dismiss the teachers. Minister Raphael Magyezi had revealed that the government had reached a final position to have Arts striking teachers sacked if they do not get back to class.

The government backed down and invited the leaders of the tutors’ union for negotiations to end the ongoing strike that has paralysed learning in public schools for two weeks now.

Art teachers across Uganda downed tools last week, threatening to throw the country’s education sector into yet another crisis, a few months after schools came out of two years of a shutdown that kept thousands of learners at home.

The general secretary of the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union, Mr Aron Mugaiga, had advised the leadership of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) to encourage their art counterparts to return to class.

“I urge members to go back and teach because if they continue with the industrial action, the lost time will never be recovered when the government affects their pay enhancement. I believe the doors for negotiations are still open,” Mr Mugaiga said.

The ongoing strike is just five months after Uganda reopened schools following a two-year closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has already caused outrage as more than eight million children in public schools miss out on learning.

Over 300 percent pay increment was allocated for science teachers in Uganda’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year, which starts in July but the allocation does not include arts and humanities teachers.

It is not uncommon to see prolonged industrial actions in Africa. Elsewhere in the continent, Nigeria, University teachers have been on strike since February over salary related agreement the academic union had with the government in 2009.

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