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Egyptian middle school teacher to stand trial for sexually harassing a student

Egyptian middle school teacher to stand trial for sexually harassing a student
Women chant slogans as they gather to protest against sexual harassment in front of the opera house in Cairo June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
Women chant slogans as they gather to protest against sexual harassment in front of the opera house in Cairo June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

An Egyptian prosecutor referred a middle-school teacher to trial on Sunday over charges of sexually harassing one of his students, a judicial source told Aswat Masirya.

Investigations have revealed that the teacher was previously accused of sexual harassment at another school where he once worked, added Prosecutor Abdel Nasser Khatab, the spokesman of Egypt’s administrative prosecution.

The teacher was referred to a disciplinary court and accused of “violating the honour” of the student for forcibly placing her on his lap, thus violating the ethical agreement and trust between teachers and students that are backed by the law.

“If the perpetrator is in a position of authority, in occupation, family or education, over the victim or has used any pressure allowed by the circumstances, punishment will not be less than two years, but not exceed five years, and the fine will not be less than 20,000 Egyptian pounds, but not exceed 50,000 pounds,” a recent amendment to the sexual harassment law stipulates.

A law introduced by former interim President Adli Mansour days before he handed over power to the newly elected president stated that sexual harassers shall face imprisonment for at least one year and a fine of at least 3,000 Egyptian pounds (419 US Dollar).

Sexual harassment was also extended to include verbal harassment, sexual gestures or harassment through phones or other means of communication.

Reported sexual harassment cases have increased since the amendments were introduced in an attempt to curb the phenomenon.

A court sentenced a man to one year in prison with labor on Saturday, fining him 3,000 Egyptian pounds, for using his mobile telephone to take photos of a woman as she slept on a public bus.

Two men in Alexandria were also sentenced to six months in prison on Wednesday for sexually harassing two women.

Twelve people accused of sexually harassing women and girls in Tahrir Square during the celebrations of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration will stand trial this Wednesday.

A graphic footage of a group sexual assault that circulated following Sisi’s inauguration on June 8 started an uproar against Egypt’s sexual harassment phenomenon.

Sisi visited the victim who was sexually assaulted and stripped off her clothes following the incident, apologizing to her and all Egyptian women.

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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