Egyptian sexual harasser's sentence reduced from 45 to 5 years

Ahram Online, Wednesday 23 Oct 2013

The infamous 'Maadi thug,' who terrorised women in the Cairo suburb five years ago, has had his prison sentence shortened

Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Mohamed Mostafa Mahmoud El-Sayed - aka 'the Maadi thug,'  Monday to five years in prison instead of 45 years.

El-Sayed roamed the district of Maadi and a number of surrounding areas for months, using a sharp object to stab and inflict various injuries to women in sensitive areas of the body.

He eluded authorities for more than a year, striking fear in the community, before he was finally apprehended in 2009.

El-Sayed was initially sentenced to 45 years in prison. However, an appeals court later overturned the verdict and referred the case to a criminal court, which reduced the sentence to five years.  

Sexual harassment has been a growing problem in Egypt in the past ten years.

More than 99 percent of hundreds of women surveyed, across seven of the country's 27 governorates, reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment, ranging from minor harassment to rape, according to an April report by the UN, Egypt's Demographic Centre and the National Planning Institute.

There are no explicit anti-sexual harassment provisions under Egyptian law.

However, there are three articles in the penal code that are sometimes applied in cases of sexual harassment.

The first concerns "insulting" (Article 306), which can be applied to cat-calling and other forms of verbal harassment on the street. The punishment can range from a fine of LE100 (roughly $17) to one month in prison.

The second applies to "indecent behaviour" (Article 278), including indecent exposure, trailing and stalking, and punishment ranges from a fine to three years in prison. 

The third is "sexual assault" (Article 268), which covers cases of physical sexual abuse, with punishment ranging from three to 15 years in prison. 

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