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

July 16, 2014

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

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.

Comments (6)

  1. Annette Barrow says:

    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.