Owner of Egypt's Merit Publishing arrested over sexual harassment allegations: Security source

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Saturday 11 Jul 2020

Mohamed Hashem
Merit Publishing house owner Mohamed Hashem (Photo: Internet)

The owner of Merit Publishing House Mohamed Hashem was arrested on Saturday over allegations that he sexually harassed “a number of women” at his publishing house, a security source told Ahram Online.

The source said that an official police report has been filed against Hashem at Abdin police station in downtown Cairo, and that several allegations have been made against him by women on social media.

The victims have said that they were subjected to harassment by Hashem while they were inside his publishing house, the source said.

Hashem's arrest comes amid a wider discussion in the country over the issue of sexual harassment and abuse, which was sparked by tide of accusations of rape, sexual harassment and blackmail made by dozens of women and girls against a young man named Ahmed Bassam Zaki.

Zaki has been arrested and is under investigation by the prosecutor-general.

Last week, the cabinet approved 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.

In 2014, in an effort to crack down on the problem, harassment was criminalised for the first time. Perpetrators faced up to five years in jail and EGP 50,000 in fines.

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