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Egyptian officials press for sexual assault video to be pulled from YouTube

Official says the victim personally asked President Abdel-Fattath El-Sisi to get the video removed

Ahram Online, Thursday 12 Jun 2014
Views: 4068
Views: 4068

Egypt has asked for a recent video showing a sexual assault victim in Cairo's Tahrir Square to be removed from YouTube, presidential spokesman Ihab Badawy announced on Thursday.

Badawy explained that the demand comes at the request of both the victim and President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who visited her in hospital on Wednesday.

During El-Sisi's televised visit, the woman urged him to have the video removed, saying her daughter broke down whenever she watched it.

On Sunday, a video began circulating on social media sites of an alleged mass sexual attack on a woman in Tahrir Square during celebrations for El-Sisi's presidential inauguration.

The video clip, which does not show the women's face, shows a naked woman with visible bruises on her back encircled by a group of men, including a policeman, who escort her to a nearby ambulance. 

It is still unconfirmed if she's the same woman El-Sisi visited. 

According to Badawy, the Egyptian embassy in Washington along with a number of Egyptian authorities has asked YouTube to remove the video.

Nine suspects are in police custody pending investigations into accusations of sexual harassment during subsequent celebrations of El-Sisi's victory.

Meanwhile, Badawy also revealed that El-Sisi along with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab are currently discussing means of confronting sexual harassment in the country.

Incidents of mob sexual assaults have become an endemic problem during protests in Tahrir over the last three years. Frequent assaults and a general police absence have left activists to form anti-harassment groups to confront the problem themselves.

A recent law – the first of its kind – against sexual harassment was passed last week by former interim president Adly Mansour. It imposes stiff punishments on sexual harassers, including a minimum of six months in prison and hefty fines.

Sexual harassment against women has been a rampant problem in Egypt for a decade. A United Nations survey from last year suggests that over 99 percent of Egyptian women have suffered some form of sexual harassment, from minor incidents to rape.


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