Egypt activist hopes jailing intercourse crimes scholar drives change

Ahmed Bassam Zaki, in his early 20s, was charged with the indecent assault and blackmail of at the least three ladies, all below 18 on the time

By Menna A. Farouk

CAIRO, April 11 (Thomson Reuters Basis) – An Egyptian Instagram activist welcomed a courtroom choice on Sunday to jail a former college scholar for eight years for intercourse crimes after her marketing campaign towards his abuse and harassment of girls sparked a MeToo motion in her nation.

Ahmed Bassam Zaki, aged in his early 20s and from a rich household, was detained final July after the Instagram marketing campaign and referred to trial on fees of indecent assault and blackmail of at the least three ladies, all below 18, between 2016 and 2020.

A Cairo Legal Courtroom sentenced him to eight years in jail on Sunday, the ladies’s lawyer Ahmed Ragheb mentioned on Fb. One other courtroom in December jailed him for 3 years for harassing two ladies on-line.

Zaki’s case drew widespread consideration from media, non secular figures and ladies’s teams in a rustic the place rights defenders say sexual harassment or abuse usually goes unpunished whereas ladies are sometimes accused of scary intercourse crimes.

It led to led to a whole lot of girls talking up on social media about sexual abuse and exposing a number of males together with a high-profile rape case that occurred at a Cairo lodge in 2014.

“We’re very proud of right this moment’s verdict as a result of we’ve got labored so much on this and we at the moment are reaping fruits,” Nadeen Ashraf, the founding father of Instagram account Assault Police that exposed the case, informed the Thomson Reuters Basis.

“A complete of 11 years in jail isn’t dangerous in any respect.”

Neither Zaki’s legal professionals nor his household have been out there to remark.

Ashraf was a scholar on the American College in Cairo when she determined final yr to arrange Assault Police after she heard allegations from mates on the college about Zaki.

Ashraf mentioned her purpose was to alter attitudes in Egypt in direction of ladies who expertise sexual assault.

“Society all the time blames the sufferer, not the one who does the harassment. And even when they don’t blame her, they stress her to maintain silent about it,” she mentioned in an interview final yr.

Judicial sources mentioned Zaki can enchantment towards Sunday’s ruling earlier than the courtroom of cassation, Egypt’s prime civilian courtroom. He has already appealed towards the December ruling.

Zaki’s case sparked an enormous on-line motion after rising final July in Muslim-majority Egypt, a rustic the place a United Nations survey in 2013 discovered 99% of girls had skilled harassment.

Responding to the rising public debate over ladies’s security, parliament handed a regulation in August giving ladies the automated proper to anonymity when reporting intercourse crimes within the conservative nation in a bid to encourage extra to report sexual assaults.

Reda Eldanbouki, government director of the Girls’s Heart for Steering and Authorized Consciousness, mentioned Sunday’s verdict despatched a powerful message to survivors to report sexual harassment circumstances.

“It’s a assertion affirming that there isn’t a place for silence right this moment or worry of social stigma,” he informed the Thomson Reuters Basis.

Associated tales;

Egypt’s #MeToo crusader fights intercourse crimes through Instagram

FEATURE-With Thai boxing, Egyptian ladies combat intercourse assaults and stereotypes

Egypt fights sexual harassment on the practice with commuter marketing campaign

(Reporting by Menna A. Farouk, Enhancing by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith Please credit score the Thomson Reuters Basis, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of individuals world wide who battle to dwell freely or pretty. Go to http://information.belief.org))

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