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Seven Egyptian men sentenced to life

By on July 16, 2014

Seven Egyptian men were jailed for life on Wednesday for attacking and sexually harassing women during rallies and celebrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Five men were jailed for life for attacking and harassing women during celebrations of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration in June.

Another defendant, aged 16, was jailed for 20 years and a 19-year-old was given two 20-year jail terms, though it was not immediately clear if they would run at the same time. All seven were convicted of sexual harassment, under the new law, and of attempted rape, attempted murder and torture.

One of the five men along with two other men were also sentenced to life on separate charges of attacking a woman as she celebrated the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that toppled autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

A woman involved in one of the cases cried in relief in the courtroom after the verdicts were announced. “This verdict is pure justice and the least that those people can get for the crimes they committed,” said Nashaat Agha, a lawyer for one of the victims.

Sisi ordered the interior minister to combat sexual harassment after women were attacked as thousands gathered in the streets during his inauguration celebrations.

Sexual assault was rampant at demonstrations during and after the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising and has been regularly reported at other large gatherings in Egypt.

Egypt passed a law in June punishing sexual harassment with at least six months in jail or fines of at least 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($420). Judicial sources said the arrests of those convicted on Wednesday were made under the new law.

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