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Sunday, 27 September 2020

Lebanon arrests three Egyptian fugitives wanted in Cairo Fairmont rape case

The arrest comes days after Egypt said it had taken measures to pursue all seven fugitives via Interpol after the men fled the country in July

Ahram Online , Saturday 29 Aug 2020
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Lebanese authorities have arrested three Egyptians who are wanted in Egypt in connection with a 2014 rape case that has recently come to light and stirred public outrage in the North African country, Lebanon’s state news agency NNA reported.

Police arrested the suspects after Interpol put out a request for the apprehension of seven men who fled Egypt to Lebanon after the rape case, which has been dubbed the “Fairmont Nile City Hotel gang rape,” was brought to light.

According to NNA, authorities arrested three of the men in Mount Lebanon’s town of Fatqa.

Two of the other suspects have fled the country, according to Lebanese authorities.

The arrest comes a few days after Egypt said it had taken measures to pursue all seven fugitives via Interpol after the men fled the country through the capital’s airport in July.

One of the defendants in the case, which so far involves a total of nine suspects, was arrested earlier as he attempted to flee Egypt and is being detained pending investigation.

The whereabouts of the remaining suspects are currently unknown.

The suspects in the case, which has gained widespread attention on social media over the past two months, reportedly hail from affluent and powerful families in Egypt.

The alleged rape has been under investigation by Egyptian authorities since 4 August, when a complaint about the incident was filed with the country's prosecutor-general.

The complaint was first sent to the National Council of Women (NCW) by a woman alleging she was raped by several people at the luxurious Fairmont Hotel in Cairo six years ago.

The victim and a number of witnesses have been questioned by the prosecution, the prosecution said on 24 August.

The case went viral in July on different social media platforms after an anonymous Instagram account published posts accusing a group of young men of being involved in a gang rape following a party at the hotel.

The incident has gained widespread attention on social media, spawning viral hashtags in Arabic and English, including “#Fairmont incident.”

In statements to AFP in July, the Fairmont Nile City Hotel administration said there was an ongoing internal investigation into the allegation. 

This is the second sexual assault case that has sparked public outcry in the country in the past two months. A former student at the prestigious American University in Cairo, Ahmed Bassam Zaki, was accused in viral online posts of multiple sexual assaults and was subsequently arrested.

Zaki is facing charges of attempting to have sex with two women, including a minor, without their consent. He is also accused of using blackmail to coerce women into granting him sexual favours. He is currently in detention.

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