[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
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
An estimated 36 people die each day in embattled town where pro-Russia rebel separatists fight Ukrainian soldiers.
People are starving in southern Somalia while relief efforts are blocked by government and rebel fighting.
join our mailing list