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

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

Ahram Online, Sunday 22 Jun 2014
Sexual harassment
File Photo: Two men harass a woman (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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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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