Tanta prosecution released a microbus driver, accused of sexually harassing and running over a girl, from custody on Sunday.
The girl, Shorouk Al-Toraby, was killed on Saturday after the attack. Her alleged attacker was released pending Al-Toraby’s forensic report, which should clarify the cause of death.
Al-Toraby’s family filed a report with the West Tanta Prosecution accusing the driver of “assaulting and murdering” Al-Toraby, state-run Al-Ahram reported.
I Saw Harassment (Shoft Taharosh) initiative, a human rights group concerned with combating sexual harassment and assault, said Al-Toraby’s friend, who was with her during the incident, stated that the driver harassed Al-Toraby before running her over.
Conflicting reports about the events which led to Al-Toraby’s death have surfaced. While some eyewitnesses claimed the driver did not intentionally run Al-Toraby over, others suggested an altercation arose between Al-Toraby, her friend and the driver, which led Al-Toraby to block the driver’s way, refusing to move until she summoned her family. This reportedly caused the driver to drive towards her, reported Al-Ahram.
Mohamed Molda, a lawyer in Tanta, said the more likely scenario is that the driver was pursuing Al-Toraby while sexually harassing her and accidentally ran her over.
“If the prosecution ordered his release, then they probably believe he didn’t intend to run her over,” Molda said.
He added that if this proves to be the case, the driver would be tried for manslaughter, a crime whose punishment ranges from an EGP 200 fine to three years in prison.
“But rarely does anyone ever get sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter,” Molda said, adding that it isn’t easy to prove a crime of manslaughter actually took place. “If all evidence is against the defendant, he would usually be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison.”
In a statement released on Monday, I Saw Harassment said that violence against women in the streets has drastically increased in the past couple of years. The violence ranges from sexual harassment to killing, gang rape and “sexual terrorism”, and increases at times of protest, the group added.
The group called on the president, the cabinet, educational institutions, media institutions, the Ministry of Interior and political parties to exercise their roles in ending violence against women.
It urged the cabinet to immediately issue a law criminalising all forms of violence against women, especially crimes of sexual harassment. It also called on the cabinet to allocate a part of the state’s budget for psychologically, medically and legally supporting sexual assault victims.
I Saw Harassment urged political parties to “be responsible and stop the political nonsense of summoning women to protest without securing those protests against sexual harassment or assault.”