Egypt detains 3 men for sexual assaults against women during Eid holiday

Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 Jul 2015

Egyptian policewomen
Egyptian policewomen who are part of a new anti-harassment force patrol in Cairo on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, Friday, July 17, 2015 (AP)

Egyptian prosecutors on Tuesday ordered the four-day detention of three men for sexually assaulting women in central Cairo earlier this week, a judicial source told Ahram Online.

The men were arrested during the Islamic Eid holiday in downtown Cairo. A government-sponsored anti-harassment campaign involving policewomen helped in detaining dozens of perpetrators during the holiday.

Dozens of others were arrested and are undergoing interrogation while 55 others have been released, the sources added.

A unit of the Egyptian National Women's Council which handles sexual offenses said it had received 136 reports of verbal assaults and five physical assaults in Cairo over the three-day holiday.

A video, which was reportedly filmed during Eid, was posted online showing a policewoman dragging a harasser through the crowds in central Cairo before detaining him in a cinema complex and hitting him.

Sexual harassment and violence has been rampant in Egypt for a number of years.

According to a 2013 UN study, sexual harassment affects 99 percent of Egyptian women and usually increases in crowded areas during holidays.

The Egyptian government criminalised sexual harassment last year, issuing a law that punishes assaulters with at least six months in jail and a minimum fine of LE3000.

In July 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced nine men to anywhere between 20 years to life in prison for sexually harassing and assaulting women during celebrations for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's inauguration the previous month. They were the first lengthy sentences of their kind since the government vowed to fight the widespread phenomenon.

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