Egypt’s Court of Cassation has upheld a sentence of eight years in prison for Ahmed Bassam Zaki, known on social media as “ABZ”, who was charged with sexually assaulting three girls. The ruling, which was issued on 17 August, is final and cannot be overturned.
Zaki had initially been sentenced to eight years in prison by a Criminal Court in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement in 2021. At the time of his arrest, in 2020, the former student was 21 years old and had been found guilty of sexually assaulting and blackmailing three underage girls.
The events leading up to the now-infamous ABZ case began in July 2020, when posts appeared on social media accusing Zaki of rape, sexual assault, blackmail, and harrassment. Within hours, Zaki had been accused online by more than fifty women.
The bulk of allegations against Zaki related to incidents which took place during his studies at the American University in Cairo, between 2016 and 2018, and his further studies at the EU Business School in Barcelona.
These testimonies, which were published by the Instagram initiative Assault Police, detailed accounts of rape, child molestation, sexual and physical violence, and blackmail, prompting nationwide controversy – shortly following which Zaki was arrested.
The ABZ case has since grown notorious for sparking widespread discussions about sexual and gender-based violence in Egypt. In what has been described as “Egypt’s #MeToo moment”, the survivors’ testimonies prompted many more women to come forward about their own experiences on social media.
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