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Seven men sentenced to life in prison for sexual assault in Egypt

Seven men sentenced to life in prison for sexual assault in Egypt

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An Egyptian court has sentenced seven people to life in prison and two men to 20 years imprisonment over sexual harassment and assault that took place in Tahrir Square.

Following their release from prison, the men are to be placed under police and court surveillance for five years. All men were also ordered to pay EGP 50,000 in compensation to the victims.

Mohamed Fawzy Ibrahim and Mohamed Mostafa Abdel Qady received life in prison (25 years in Egyptian law). Abdel Fattah Othman Hassan, Mohamed Aly Abdullah and Youssef Zakareya received life in prison sentences twice (50 years), while Amr Mohamed was sentenced to life in prison three times (75 years). Kareem Mohamed Mostafa received life in prison and 20 years (45 years), while Ahmed Ibrahim and Ahmed Hassan each received 20 years in prison.

The defendants had been found guilty of sexual harassment and assault in Tahrir Square during celebrations for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s inauguration and during the anniversary of January 25 in 2014.

Egypt’s Sexual Harassment Epidemic

Egypt's President Sisi visits a sexual assault victim in hospital in June 2014.
Egypt’s President Sisi visits a sexual assault victim in hospital in June 2014.

Although the sexual assault epidemic is nothing new in Egypt, with more than 99 percent of women surveyed by the United Nations experiencing some form of sexual harassment, recently there has been an extended initiative by the government to crack down on the issue.

While thousands gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the inauguration of Egypt’s new President on June 8, a graphic video spread on social media portraying a naked, injured woman attempting to flee a large group of men who had sexually assaulted her in the middle of the square. The woman had been with her daughter at the Square to celebrate Sisi’s Presidency.

The assault, which made headlines across the globe, was strongly condemned by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who called on the judiciary to “vigorously enforce the law.”

The President, who had also honoured a police officer that had been injured while rescuing the victim from the group of men, also visited the victim of the June 8 sexual assault in hospital.

During the visit, the first of its kind for an Egyptian official, the newly elected President “apologized to every Egyptian woman” and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“I am speaking to the judiciary,” said the President at the hospital. “Our own flesh is being assaulted on the streets and that is unacceptable. Even if it is only one case, it is unacceptable.”

In June, Egypt introduced new laws targeting sexual harassment. Previously, Egypt had no specific law forbidding sexual harassment.

Note: An earlier version of this article stated that six men had been sentenced to life in prison and three to 20 years. This has been updated to reflect new information that revealed seven have been sentenced to life and two 20 years.

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  • misr2013

    Sisi is the hero of the nation! Keeping our women safe from the filthy hands of the youth who nearly flushed this country down the toilet into a cesspit of chaos and ignorance.

    • Concerned American

      The problem is not just the youth. Just as in my country, young people with no jobs, no opportunities, no hope, and plenty of free time – these are the people who commit many urban area crimes. I am extremely happy about this ruling, however, as I know many young women, Egyptian and foreign, who are on the streets of Cairo everyday. What a lot of people don’t acknowledge is the mental and emotional toll that even verbal harassment will cause its victims. No one should feel that they have to stay secluded in their home in order to be safe from verbal and physical abuse. This horrific behavior has also contributed to the loss of tourists in Egypt, as women do not want to be harassed on their vacations. If the police and judiciary are able to stem this tide of abuse, and Egypt is able to create jobs for young people, it will benefit all, women and men, residents and visitors. God bless this woman, and all others who are victims, and keep their families and friends strong in their support.

      • misr2013

        I’m sorry, as much as you would like to say this is an economic / educational problem – you can’t seriously sit there and pretend it isn’t a cultural one too. Yes, harassment occurs in other countries, particularly in poor countries, yet India and Egypt have one thing in common, they are patriarchal and sexist societies. Ask any woman who has travelled around Africa, and she will tell you that, yes, while men there try to flirt with you, they do it in a polite and flattering manner. Go to any poorer country is South East Asia and you will find that harassment is almost non-existant. Stop making excuses for a culture which has long passed it’s glory days and is now deeply flawed and backward.

  • michael

    God bless the new government It is about time to act positive ,let these animals to perish in jail

  • Annette Barrow

    This is a very positive step forward in the fight to end Sexual Violence against Women in Egypt that justice is finally prevailing for the first time with the prision sentences that have been handed down to the abusers of this despicable act. With the introduction of new laws targeting sexual harassment by the Egyptian Government and the strong condemnation by Egypt’s new Presient Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of this crime the needs of the victim has been met under the justice system.

    Based on the statistics revealed by the United Nations that more than 99 percent of women surveyed have experienced some form of sexual harassment it is imperative that the Egyptian authorities must not take their foot of the pedal on this serious matter. The mentality must change on this as Egypt rebuilds it society to a more cohesive and safer one. There is a great need for a crisis centre or a helpline to help women and Egyptian officials to combat this major problem. There is also a need for an Awareness campaign so that Egyptian men become more aware of the damage these despicable acts committed on Women and Girls cause and the important role they can play as eye witnesses to help end all acts of sexual violence, harassment, stalking and abuse against Egyptian women and girls and western women to bring abusers to justice. All Women and Girls of the modern world must have the right to live in a safe society and to walk the streets of Egypt free from harm and abuse.

    Egyptian Women and Girls and indeed Western Women living and visiting Egypt must continue to feel empowered to raise their voices and stand united together as ONE to end all act of Sexual Violent, Harassment, Stalking and Abuse against them. It is not only Egyptian women and their daughter’s that are looking over their shoulders because they feel unsafe, harassed and victimised by Egyptian men. Western women living and working in Egypt and the Red Sea tourist resorts feel the same victimisation. It is shameful when women become the victims of these incidents of harassment causing alarm and distress and in some case emotional and psychological damage that many eye witnesses to these incidents fail to come forward to help the women to bring these abusers to justice and take them off the streets. There can be no Women’s Right without Human Rights and no Love without Freedom. It is sad something good has to come out when something bad happens and my thoughts are with the victim for a speedy recovery.

  • Pingback: Egypt Media Roundup – Jul 16, 2014 - The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy()

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