Egyptian sexual harasser sentenced to three months in absentia

Ahram Online , Wednesday 19 Jun 2013

The offender physically attacked a 30-year-old woman after harassing her on a bridge in central Cairo

A Cairo court has sentenced a man in absentia on Wednesday to three months in prison on charges of beating a woman.

Sexual harassment is a serious problem in Egypt but perpetrators are rarely prosecuted. 

Layla El-Gueretly, a 30-year-old teacher, was walking on Cairo’s 6 October Bridge in April when a bus passenger started cat-calling her.

When she ignored him, he started making obscene gestures, which only stopped when she said, "Shame on your beard."

The offender then started shouting and calling her names before he jumped off the bus and physically attacked her.

El-Gueretly, who sustained minor injuries during the attack, persuaded several witnesses to accompany her to the prosecutor to testify.

The attacker was released on the day and the trial took place Wednesday in his absence.

He received a two-month sentence for the physical attack and one month on charges of assault.

El-Gueretly's supporters staged a protest in front of the court earlier Wednesday in solidarity with her case.

On Sunday, an Egyptian man received a life sentence for murdering 17-year-old Iman Mostafa, who spat at him for sexually harassing her last year.

A report last April carried out by the UN, Egypt's Demographic Center, and the National Planning Institute found that more than 99 percent of hundreds of women surveyed in seven of the country's 27 governorates reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment, ranging from minor harassment to rape.

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