The legislative committee of the Egyptian House of Representatives agreed to a proposal seeking to amend laws that would change the treatment of sexual harassment from a misdemeanor to a felony, reported state media on Sunday 27 June.
The proposal had suggested an amendment to Article 306(b) of the 1937 Law on Assault and Sexual Harassment. The House of Representatives agreed to change the sentence of this crime to not be less than two years or exceed four years imprisonment alongside a fine that ranges between EGP 100,000 to EGP 200,000.
According to Youm7, this applies to whoever assaults an individual in a public or a private place by sexual or ‘pornographic insinuations’. This also includes all forms of telecommunications and other technological means, therefore covering cyber sexual harassment.
The proposal also stipulated an amendment to Article 267, setting out that if an offender has a familial, professional, or academic authority over a victim, or otherwise exercised any form of pressure to allow the offender to perpetuate the crime (including being in possession of a weapon), then the offender will face a period that is no less than seven years imprisonment and a fine that ranges between EGP 350,000 to EGP 500,000
MP Ashraf Rashad, the parliamentarian who brought forward the proposal, stated that the proposed amendments are a response to the recent high-profile sexual harassment cases. Rashad added that sexual harassment is a crime that is a dangerous threat to Egyptian society.