Six men arrested in Egypt's Sharqiya after mob assaults woman

Ahram Online , Friday 31 Mar 2017

The mob that gathered around a woman as she returned home from a wedding party in the city of Zagazig, Sharqiya (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Security forces in Egypt's northern governorate of Sharqiya have arrested six people after dozens of men reportedly sexually assaulted a woman on Thursday, Al-Ahram Arabic reported.

The woman was returning home from a wedding party in the city of Zagazig when dozens of men gathered around her and assaulted her.

Police fired in the air amid a state of pandemonium to disperse the crowd around the woman, who was then taken to a local police station.

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.

In April 2014, the Egyptian government criminalised sexual harassment, issuing a law commended by the United Nations which punishes assaulters with at least six months in jail and a minimum fine of EGP 3,000.

A parliamentary committee in January approved a draft bill pushing for tougher penalties than those in the existing law.

In July 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced nine men to between 20 years and 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 El-Sisi vowed to crack down on widespread sexual assaults and the government's criminalization of sexual harassment.

In January, two low-ranking police officers were sentenced to seven and ten years in prison for sexually assaulting a young woman after kidnapping and arresting her without a prosecution order in an incident that dates back to 2015.

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