Egypt Throws Book at 9 for Tahrir Square Sex Assaults

Court hands out life sentences in apparent crackdown
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2014 12:31 PM CDT
Egypt Throws Book at 9 for Tahrir Square Sex Assaults
Egyptian men sentenced to life in prison for sexual assaults on women in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, hide their faces at trial in Cairo, Wednesday, July 16, 2014.   (AP Photo/Aly Hazzaa, El Shorouk)

Faced with rampant and public sex assaults over the last three years, Egypt today threw out a decisive deterrent and sentenced nine men to hefty jail terms, reports the Guardian. Seven men were given life sentences—three of those received multiple life sentences, notes the AP—while another two teenagers were sentenced to lesser terms of at least 20 years each. The convictions stemmed from multiple incidents this year and last year. The verdict was greeted with shouts of "injustice!" from the defendants, adds Reuters, while one victim cried in relief and victims' rights advocates cheered the crackdown.

"This verdict is pure justice and the least that those people can get for the crimes they committed," said one victim's lawyer. The problem—which rose to global prominence when video went viral of a naked victim at a mass rally last month for new President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi—had reached endemic levels: 250 assaults had been documented in Tahrir Square since 2011, with zero resulting in investigations until al-Sisi was forced to take action in the wake of public outcry. Additionally, UN data shows that more than 99% of women report having been harassed in the street. (More Egypt stories.)

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