Egypt sentences man to year in jail amid moves to combat sexual harassment

Ahram Online, Sunday 22 Jun 2014

Amid moves by the state to combat sexual harrasment and assaults on women, a Cairo court sentences a man to one year in jail for photographing a woman who was sleeping on a public bus

Sexual harassment
File Photo: Two men harass a woman (Photo: Al-Ahram)

An Egyptian court Saturday sentenced a middle-aged man to one year in jail for harassing a woman in what judicial sources said was the swiftest such verdict since authorities issued a law that criminalises sexual harassment.

Abdel Latif Abdel-Fattah, 39, was arrested three days ago, a judicial source said. He was accused of photographing a woman passenger by his mobile phone as she was sleeping on a public bus. Abdel-Fattah, an electrician, was taken to a nearby police station by other passengers in the bus. The incident took place Wednesday.

The man was also fined LE 3,000 ($420) and sentenced to hard labour during his jail term.

The ruling came almost two weeks after the government issued a law that punishes sexual harassment with at least six months in jail or a minimum fine of LE3,000.

Sexual harassment has been increasingly commonplace in Egypt in recent years, particularly in large gatherings.

Two weeks ago, graphic video footage was circulated of a woman, stripped and badly bruised, being sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square during celebrations of the inauguration of new president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. The video provoked a huge public outcry, prompting the government to draw up a plan to combat sexual harassment.

At least seven were arrested for attacking women near Cairo's Tahrir Square during the 9 June celebrations of El-Sisi's inauguration. A dozen others are to stand trial on 25 June over sexual assaults near Tahrir earlier this month.

Last Wednesday, two men were handed a six-year jail term each for harassing women.

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