Seven men detained for sexually harassing woman in Egypt's Daqahliya
El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, , Thursday 17 Dec 2020
The victim said five men in a car and two on a motorcycle chased her in the street, physically attacked her and incited passers-by against her

Seven young men were detained over allegations of sexually assaulting a woman on a street in Egypt's Nile Delta governorate of Daqahliya last Thursday.

Investigations are ongoing and the prosecution said it has questioned the 23-year-old university student who accused the defendants of assaulting her on a street in the city of Mit Ghamr, south of Daqahliya.

The victim said five men in a car and two on a motorcycle chased her in the street, physically attacked her and incited passers-by against her, according to the prosecution's statement on Thursday.

She added that she sought refuge in a nearby café and waited for them to leave.

When she went out of the coffee shop, however, they were still lurking around and harassed her again, she said, adding that she managed to run to a car showroom whose owner helped her to reach her residence.

The victim reported she received threats on Facebook from one of the defendants' relatives and a lawyer to pressure her to drop the charge, the statement pointed out.

The seven defendants were arrested after they had been identified through surveillance cameras on the scene of the incident.

The prosecution said it obtained three videos from surveillance cameras. The first clip showed the victim surrounded by a slew of people, and the second showed her being chased by the defendants. The third clip showed her walking with a woman, an eyewitness, towards the car showroom, while the defendants chased her in a car.

Six defendants were interrogated, the prosecution said, adding that they confessed to be present at the scene but denied the harassment allegations.

The prosecution questioned a few eyewitnesses, including the owner of the car showroom and three women.

The prosecution ordered the seven defendants detained pending further investigations.

The incident sparked an online outcry in the past days, especially after the victim said on TV that she received threats from the defendants to force her to drop the complaint, but she was encouraged to file the charge after receiving support.

Many social media users launched hashtags to support the woman in the past few days.

The incident comes amid intensified efforts by the government against sexual harassment to encourage more victims to speak out.

In August 2020, parliament passed a bill proposed by the justice ministry to keep the identity of sexual assault and harassment victims confidential, in a bid to encourage victims to come forward without fear of being stigmatised.