Egypt’s prosecution orders arrest of 3 men for sexually assaulting, killing a woman

Ahram Online , Wednesday 14 Oct 2020

The victim, who resisted the assault, was dragged by the perpetrators car for three metres before the attackers left her dead

Egypt's prosecutor-general headquarter

Egypt’s prosecution ordered on Wednesday the arrest of three men charged with sexually harassing, dragging and killing a woman in Cairo’s Maadi suburb on Tuesday night.

Residents in the area found the victim's body on the street and reported the incident to the police.

CCTV cameras revealed a woman in her 20s was walking in a Maadi street upon finishing her work when three men in a car verbally assaulted her before attacking her physically while she resisted their attempts.

The report stated the woman's bag got stuck in the car, but “it was unclear if they had pulled it.” The cameras showed the woman being dragged for three metres before the attackers left her dead.

Following the autopsy, the prosecution ordered the woman's burial and the immediate arrest of the perpetrators. 

Persisting problem

The National Council for Women launched several awareness campaigns in cooperation with Egyptian celebrities against sexual harassment. Despite the effort, sexual harassment rates continue to rise and horrifying crimes are reported frequently.

In 2014, harassment was criminalised for the first time. Perpetrators face up to five years in jail and EGP 50,000 in fines. In some cases, victims of sexual harassment are killed for standing up against their attackers.

In August 2020, parliament passed a bill proposed by the justice ministry to keep the identity of sexual assault and harassment victims confidential, in a bid to encourage victims to come forward without fear of being stigmatised.

A UN report on “Ways and Methods to Eliminate Sexual Harassment in Egypt” carried out by UN Women in 2013 revealed that over 99.3 per cent of the Egyptian girls and women surveyed reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment, either verbally or physically.

According to a New York-based Population Council study issued earlier this month, 40 percent of women aged between 13 and 35 have been physically or verbally assaulted on Egypt’s streets and in public transport modes. In informal, urban, and rural areas assault was reported at 61.6 percent, 47.7 percent, and 32.6 percent, respectively. The study was funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre and conducted in coordination with the Egypt-based Women and Society Association and the Youth of Today Association. 

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