[QODLink]
Middle East

Life sentences for Egypt sexual assaults

Seven men sentenced to life in prison for sexually attacking women during public rallies in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Last updated: 16 Jul 2014 14:19
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The charges included attempted rape, attempted murder and torture [Reuters]

An Egyptian court has sentenced seven men to life imprisonment for sexually harassing and attacking women during a number of public rallies in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Wednesday verdicts are the first such heavy sentences against perpetrators of sexual violence after the government's decision to toughen penalties. The charges included attempted rape, attempted murder and torture.

The judge sentenced the seven men to life in prison. Three of them received multiple life sentences for taking part in different assaults. Another two men each received two 20-year sentences.

Spotlight
Follow our ongoing coverage of the political crisis in Egypt

The men were to be placed on surveillance for five years once they finish their sentences. They were also ordered to pay financial compensation.

Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but assaults have become more frequent and brutal over the past three years of turmoil, with frenzied mobs targeting women who take part in political gatherings.

The charges stemmed from four different incidents of sexual assault this year and last year, including one during celebrations of the inauguration of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in June.

Videos of the brutal attacks posted online caused a public outcry, and pushed the new leader to make the highest profile condemnation of the escalating phenomenon and order a crackdown on perpetrators. A week later, 13 suspects were sent to trial in a speedy referral aimed to send a message of deterrence.

In one of his last decisions before stepping down in June, Adly Mansour, Egypt's interim president and el-Sissi's predecessor, decreed sexual harassment a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

The decree amended the country's existing laws, which did not criminalise sexual harassment.

287

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.