After a prolonged court case that captured the attention of media and divided public opinion since July, Egypt’s Public Prosecution cleared 15-year-old Amira Ahmed Rizk, of all murder charges.
The decision was announced by Egyptian prosecutor Hamada al-Sawy, according to a press release.
The young girl, often reffered to as ‘Ayyat girl’, killed a man who she claimed was attempting to rape her thus legitimizing her actions on the basis of self-defense.
On popular TV program ‘Every Day’ hosted by Wael El Ebrashy, Amira narrated the incident, stressing that the attempted rape was part of a large abduction narrative.
She explained that her phone was purposefully taken by a previous colleague, in Giza, to lure her to an intended location with the help of the microbus driver.
Realizing that she wouldn’t be able to retrieve her phone, she attempted to return to her home in Fayoum with the help of a microbus driver who offered to take her to the nearest stop, near an Ayyat filling station.
However, upon finding herself alone with the driver on the road, the 22-year old stranger tried to rape her. Amira then feigned consent but proceeded to stab the man 13 times before running away and finding shelter in a mosque.
Farmers and a mosque worker helped her clean off the blood and contacted her father who then decided to inform the police.
After an initial period of detainment, interrogations and prolonged investigations, the Public Prosecution announced the adolescent’s innocence, asserting that her accounts matched up with those of the witnesses who had helped her as well as CCTV camera records in a fuel station.
In a wave of heavy criticism and victim blame, Rizk was accused of consenting to the man’s advances by getting inside the microbus prompting a debate over consent and rape in Egypt.
Nonetheless, her case also sparked sympathy, namely from The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) which had commented on the incident in a report, saying that they would offer her “all the support”.
The exact number of rapes and attempted rapes are unknown in Egypt. While official figures exist, such as 10,000 per year, as per Egypt’s Interior Ministry, it is likely that this number would be higher if women were encouraged to report incidences of abuse, harassment and rape.
Instead, many, especially encouraged by families in fear of scandals, resort to silence.