Egyptian man jailed for 2 years for sexual harassment

Ahram Online, Monday 12 Nov 2012

Cairo court finds 42-year-old man guilty of sexual assault, and sentences him to 2 years in prison and a fine of LE2,000

Egyptian women complain of sexual harrassment on a daily basis (Photo: AP)

A Cairo court sentenced a man on Monday to a two-year prison term as well as a LE2,000 ($330) fine for sexually assaulting a woman in an incident which occurred several months earlier.

Local rights group El-Nadeem which was handling the case announced that the 42-year-old man was arrested in July and eventually convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in the southern Cairo district of Maadi.

According to El-Nadeem's statement on Monday, the sentenced man grabbed the young woman's bottom, while she was waiting for a cab.

Sexual harassment of women is a growing problem on Egyptian streets. Since Egypt's January 25 Revolution, the number of the different initiatives that work on combating sexual harassment has significantly increased.

The most prominent sexual harassment lawsuit in Egypt that led to the harasser being imprisoned was in 2008, when a young woman named Noha Roshdy took legal action against a man who assaulted her.

Sexual harassment lawsuits receive particular media attention because of the difficulty of convicting harassers amid unclear legal punishments for the crime. Also women complain of antagonistic attitudes towards them and police apathy which makes it difficult for women to take the harasser himself to the police station.

In Late October, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil stated that the Cabinet, along with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the National Council for Women, are working on a law to combat harassment on the streets through imposing harsh penalties.

A 2008 survey by the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights found that 83 per cent of local women in Egypt and 98 per cent of foreign women had been subjected to harassment at least once.

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