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Egypt wants removal of Tahrir sex assault video

Two Tengananese men fight each other using thorny pandanus leaves. Picture: Getty

Two Tengananese men fight each other using thorny pandanus leaves. Picture: Getty

  • by SHADIA NASRALLA
 

EGYPTIAN officials have asked YouTube to remove a video of a woman being sexually assaulted during a rally in Cairo’s Tahrir Square supporting the country’s newly elected president.

Ehab Badawy, spokesman for President Abdul Fattah al-Sissi, said the request was made by the Egyptian embassy in Washington.

The woman asked for the video to be taken down when Mr Sisi visited her in hospital, he said.

The graphic video, which apparently shows a woman being stripped naked and attacked in the capital’s Tahrir Square, went viral earlier this week.

The interior ministry said the men involved in the attacks at Tahir Square earlier this week were aged between 15 and 49.

A string of assaults during the recent celebrations have caused uproar.

State-run television showed the president personally apologising to a victim, whose identity has been kept anonymous, at a military hospital in Cairo on Wednesday.

The woman was seen asking Mr Sisi to have the video of the attack removed from the video-sharing website.

“My daughter watches it every day and collapses,” she was quoted as saying to an international news agency.

Mr Sissi told her: “I have come to tell you and every Egyptian woman that I am sorry. I am apologising to every Egyptian woman.”

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has not yet responded to news of the request, it was last night reported.

On Tuesday, a presidential spokesman said Mr Sisi had ordered officials to enforce a new law making sexual assault a crime for the first time.

The law decrees that those found guilty of harassment in public or private will face up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($6,990; £4,160).

Women’s rights groups have accused the authorities of failing to address the issue of sexual harassment.

A 2013 UN study said that nine out of ten Egyptian women had experienced some form of sexual assault, ranging from minor harassment to rape.

Human rights campaigners have describe the extent of the problem in Egypt as “horrifying”.

Incidents have soared in the three years since the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s new president order­ed the police to launch a crackdown on sexual assaults amid growing public anger.

Mr Sisi also called for citizens to “reinstate moral values in society” after a graphic video of sexual assault victim went viral.

His inauguration as president on Sunday was marred by a string of sexual assaults on women in Cairo.

Several men have been arr­ested over the attacks in Tahrir Square, where his supporters were celebrating.

A statement from Mr Sisi’s off­ice said he had told the interior minister to ensure there is full implementation of a new law that has for the first time made sexual harassment a crime.

The law decrees that those found guilty of harassment in public or private will face up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds (£4,160).

Activists welcomed the law, but warned it remained to be seen whether it would be enforced by police.

Judicial sources said the arr­ests that took place after Sunday’s attacks were made under the new law.

 

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