The Heliopolis Misdemeanour Court postponed Sunday the trial of two men accused of assaulting a policeman and harassing two women during celebrations of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s inauguration last week.
The trial, postponed to 22 June, comes amid a string of legal measures taken in regards to sexual assault.
Nationwide anger spiralled against reported cases of sexual assault in Tahrir Square after a video documenting one case of assault went viral last Sunday. The video shows a woman being subjected to mass assault after she is stripped naked, with security personnel trying to drive the assailants away.
Presidential Spokesman Ihab Badawi announced on Saturday that video sharing site YouTube agreed to remove videos where the victim could be identified, in response to the Egyptian state’s request. A spokesperson for YouTube confirmed the news.
“While we are careful to add warnings and age-restrictions to flagged content on YouTube that is graphic, but newsworthy, we respect an individual’s right to privacy and have always removed videos entirely where there is a privacy complaint and an individual is clearly identifiable,” the spokesperson said.
The prosecutor general’s office said it interrogated three suspects for over ten days for sexually assaulting a 42 year-old woman and her daughter in Tahrir Square on 3 June. The assault took place as demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate after Al-Sisi was officially announced as president.
The three suspects are facing charges of forcible indecent assault, attempted rape, detention and torture, the prosecution said, adding that it is working on identifying the rest of the assailants.
The prosecution detailed the incident of sexual assault, saying that the 42 year-old victim was stripped naked and scalded with boiling water as the assailants repeatedly touched her. The Forensic Authority’s examination confirmed the “severe” burns and injuries sustained by the victim.
On Saturday, the prosecutor general referred 13 sexual assault suspects to the urgent criminal court, reported state television.
The prosecution’s investigation into the assault cases, which featured the testimonies of 52 witnesses, revealed that “criminal groups” sexually assaulted six women on 8 June, as demonstrators celebrated Al-Sisi’s inauguration. Civil society organisations reported at least nine cases of sexual assault, while the forensics authority medically examined at least seven women subjected to “indecent assault” last Tuesday.
The women suffered from burns, lynching, and biting, state television reported. The prosecution accused the suspects of stripping the victims off their clothes, indecently assaulting them and stealing their possessions.
The Ministry of Interior said last Monday that it had arrested seven men in light of sexual harassment reports.
Security forces arrested an eight suspect accused of sexually harassing a woman in Tahrir Square last Sunday as well as stealing her purse, reported state-run Al-Ahram.
Shortly before ceding power, former President Adly Mansour issued a law amending articles in the Penal Code establishing harsher punishment for sexual harassment.
A report issued by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in April 2013 revealed an overwhelming majority of Egyptian women have experienced sexual harassment. As many as 99.3% have reported incidents of sexual harassment, whilst 96.5% of women had been sexually assaulted.