Egypt arrests 7 for sexually assaulting student in Tahrir

Egypt arrests 7 for sexually assaulting student in Tahrir
Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:01:19

Egyptian police have arrested seven men for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old student during celebrations marking the inauguration of the country's new president in Cairo's central Tahrir Square the day before, security officials say.

Police were investigating 27 complaints of sexual harassment against women in Tahrir, where tens of thousands celebrated Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi's inauguration on Sunday late into the night, the officials said Monday.

Sexual harassment has been one of Egypt's enduring social ills. Over the past three years, Tahrir Square has seen multiple instances of sexual attacks on women amid the large crowds that mass there for protests, rallies or celebrations ever since it became the center of the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Last week, authorities issued a decree declaring sexual harassment a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

The seven men were arrested in connection to an attack Sunday evening on a student, who was hospitalized afterward, said the officials. They did not elaborate on her condition and spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Video footage posted on social media purportedly shows the student completely naked amid a crowd of men, parts of her body bloodied as policemen struggle to escort her out of Tahrir. The video appeared authentic and was consistent with AP reporting of the incident.

The Interior Ministry, in charge of police, identified the seven in a statement, giving their ages between 15 and 49. It said they were arrested for "harassing several girls" but made no mention of the student. A policeman was injured while the seven were being arrested, the ministry added.

Authorities investigating other reports of sexual assaults were examining a dozen videos from security cameras or from bystanders filming with their mobile phones, the officials said.


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