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EGYPT COURT JAILS SEVEN FOR LIFE OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Written by  Published in Mid-East Thursday, 17 July 2014 16:52
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Kathmandu, July 17 (CNS) - An Egyptian court sentenced on Wednesday seven men to life in prison for sexually harassing and assaulting women, during mass celebrations in the capital's iconic Tahrir Square, official MENA news agency reported.


Four of the seven were handed more than one life term in four relevant cases, including nine defendants. As for the other two, one is sentenced to 20 years and the other got two 20-year terms in two cases.

The cases are related to sexual assaults during mass celebrations in Jan and June, when thousands of Egyptians flocked to Tahrir Square to mark the third anniversary of toppling long-time President, Hosni Mubarak, on Jan 25, and on June 8, to celebrate the inauguration of Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi as new president.

The accused were charged of terrorising women by using violence and knives to attack the victims, besides sexual harassing and attempting to rape them, said the presiding judge.

Following Sisi's inauguration, a video clip posted on Youtube and widely shared on social networking sites showed a badly-injured woman stripped of her clothing being dragged through a large crowd to an ambulance. The footage triggered outrage in Egypt and abroad.

Carrying a flower bouquet, Sisi made a highly-publicised visit to one of the victims and expressed his apologies. He ordered his interior minister to take all necessary measures to combat sexual harassment, describing sexual harassment as a phenomena "alien" to Egypt.

Sexual assaults have been rampant in large crowds in Egypt, most frequently during protests or demonstrations in Tahrir Square.
Women's rights groups have estimated that more than 250 cases of "mass sexual rape and mass sexual assaults" occurred from Nov 2012 to Jan 2014.--Source MENA

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