Sexual harassment criminalised in Egypt - reports

by Maria Caspani | | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 6 June 2014 03:58 GMT

Youth harass women on a street in Cairo, on April 8, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

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Punishable by up to five years in prison and fines from $400 to $7,000

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Egypt has passed a law that makes sexual harassment a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and fines ranging from $400 to $7,000, according to media reports.

The decree, signed by interim President Adly Mansour, defines harassment as any sexual or pornographic suggestion or hints through words, signs or acts, Al Jazeera reported.

It doubles penalties in cases of repeated harassment and sets out harsher punishments for people who take advantage of their position of power to harass others, as well as for people in uniforms or carrying weapons.

The decision "reflects the keenness of the state and the interest in the protection of women and preservation of their rights," the National Council for Women, the body that helped draft the legislation, said in a statement.

Sexual harassment is endemic in Egypt. A UN Women study found that 99.3 percent of women reported experiencing some form of harassment, from catcalling to groping and rape.

On Tuesday, security forces arrested 23 students on charges of sexual harassment in the Upper Egypt governorate of Sohag, according to online news website Daily News Egypt

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