Egyptian Policeman Receives Life Sentence for Raping Disabled Girl in Police Station

egyptian trial, photo by middle east voices

egyptian trial, photo by middle east voices

CAIRO, Egypt - According to the activist Engy Ghozlan of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights (ECWR), nearly 200,000 rapes occur annually in Egypt. This figure was presented in response to a 2008 U.N. report which quoted Egypt's Interior Ministry's figure which was significantly less. (Source: ECWR).

As in many countries rapes in Egypt are one of the most under-reported crimes, and until recently, many perpetrators weren't brought to trial because of lack of interests or cultural biases which blamed the woman for allowing herself to be raped.

In August 2014, a 17-year-old mentally disabled teenage girl walked into the Imbaba Police Station in Cairo's low-income neighbourhood of Imbaba to report her abduction by two men earlier that day. Instead of receiving just consideration of her charges, or even for the police to initiate an investigation, Khaled Abdel-Rahman Mohamed, the policeman on duty, inexplicably locked the teenager a cell.

Other female prisoners confirmed the testimony of the girl in which she stated that she was subsequently taken forcibly from the cell by Mohamed ostensibly for further questioning. It is alleged that he dragged her by her hair and raped her in the corner of the station. Two women in an adjacent jail cell watched the assault through a crack in the cell door. A camera also bore silent witness to the girl's ordeal and was crucial to proving the guilt of the officer.

Egyptian law permits rapists to be sentenced to death for the rape of any female under the age of 18; however, on 7 June 2015 the court sentenced Mohamed to life in prison.

Changing Egypt: Nine Men Convicted of Sexual Assaults

anti-sexual harassment anti-police failures demo, press syndicate photo by hossam el- amalawy

anti-sexual harassment anti-police failures demo, press syndicate photo by hossam el- amalawy

CAIRO, Egypt — A Thomson Reuters Foundation survey last year showed that Egypt has been the worst Arab country for women. A swell of gang rapes, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, and other crimes against women have been on the rise since the Arab Spring.

In President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s continued efforts to combat the high incidence of sexual assaults in Egypt, Wednesday an Egyptian judge convicted nine men of committing sexual assaults. The men, ages 16-49, received extensive sentences ranging from 20-years to life in prison, reported the state-run newspaper al-Ahram.

The Guardian reports that 250 sexual assaults have been documented since the Tahrir riots in 2011, for the first time they resulted in a police investigation and the president visiting with a victim. The arrests of the men were made in response to the country’s new law that more thoroughly defined sexual assault and imposed stricter penalties. As some of the most severe sexual assault sentences the country has seen, it shows the country’s dedication to cracking down on the crime.

Seven of the nine men have been sentenced to life in prison. In addition to sexual assault they were all charged with and of attempted rape, attempted murder and torture, according to Reuters. They also reported that these are the longest sentences for sexual assaults that Egypt has since President Sisi's campaign to criminalize sexual assaults.

As is customary in Egyptian courts, the accused men stood in cages while the verdicts were read to them. Reuters reported that when the verdicts were delivered the convicted men shouted "injustice" as their relatives supposedly attacked journalists. It was also said that a woman involved in one of the case began to cry out of relief upon hearing the verdicts.

Some question if the sentencing was too harsh for the crime. The 16-year-old defendant received a 20-year prison sentence and a 19-year-old defendant received two 20-year terms of imprisonment. A prominent Egyptian activist and lawyer Gamal Eid told Reuters, “This ruling gives a strong message to all harassers that their actions are no longer tolerated or accepted ... But the ruling on the teenagers was a bit harsh and could have been reduced.” But, Nashaat Agha, a lawyer for one of the victims defended the rulings saying, “This verdict is pure justice and the least that those people can get for the crimes they committed.”

The majority of the assaults happened in June during street celebrations of the inauguration of President Sisi. Most other reported assaults also happened at mass celebrations. One of the men sentenced to life received separate charges of attacking women. He assaulted women at only a celebration for the inauguration of President Sisi, and also at a celebration for the anniversary of the overthrow of despotic president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. With the upcoming celebrations for the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, it will test if these convictions can deter sexual assaults.

However, legislating against sexual assaults has yet to transform the public perception of the crime. Dalia Abd el-Hameed, a co-founder of Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment, a movement that combats gang sexual assaults believes that the social view of sexual assaults is most important saying to The New York Times, "The most important thing is the social component," she said. "If something is criminalized by law, but society accepts it, it will continue happening."

The government is taking special action to change people's attitude towards sexual assault in addition to the newly adopted laws. It was reported by The Guardian that officials proposed rewarding screenwriters who produce "female-friendly television shows". Also, they reported that a female television presenter was suspended after she mockingly laughed at Tahrir victims when they were brought up by her co-presenter. She defended the attackers saying they were just "happy", according to Reuters.

That being said, the governmental action being taken against sexual offenders in Egypt is confronting their overlooked sexual assault issue. El-Hameed told The New York Times she believed that the sentences are a “good step to end the state of impunity that perpetrators enjoyed.”

Follow Allyson on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Contributing Journalist: @allysoncwright

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Woman Stripped Naked, Beaten by Mob in Tahrir Square

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Michael Ransom, Contributing EditorLast Modified: 07:45 p.m. DST, 11 June 2014

"حسنا" Photo by: Andrea Volpini

CAIRO, Egypt -- The inauguration of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday, 8 June, was a cause for celebration and excitement throughout much of Egypt. But hours after the commencement of al-Sisi's presidency, the festivities turned violent. Several women were sexually assaulted and battered in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo.

Since Sunday, nine men have been arrested in connection to the string of assaults. The mob targeted at least five women, surrounding and sexually assaulting them. The torture proved extremely serious; four of the women were transported to the hospital after the vicious attacks.

The violent crowd of men surrounded a range of women, including one pregnant Egyptian, and a mother who had been enjoying the Tahrir Square scene with her daughter before the mob encircled and violated her.

The criminals moved through the square with relative impunity, stripping one woman completely naked and lacerating her. The attack went on far too long before police were able to separate her from the mob. According to reports, the security officers threatened to discharge their weapons, but no shots were fired.

Today, 11 June, women responded to the series of attacks that followed Sunday's inauguration, gathering in Tahrir Square as a statement of solidarity and resilience. Sexual assault has become commonplace in Tahrir Square, especially during the massive protests in 2011 and 2013 that saw President Mubarak and President Morsi removed from office. Women who demonstrated during this pivotal political time were often silenced through sexual assault, which at the time was not a punishable crime in Egypt.

A study published by the United Nations finds that 9 out of 10 Egyptian women have been sexually harassed, sexually assaulted or raped.

Thursday of last week, 5 June, new legislation was implemented by the provisional government to protect women from sexual assault, and hold perpetrators responsible for the first time in Egyptian history. Advocates of the measure hope that it will curtail the growing problem.

Tahrir Square has become very much a symbol of Egyptian liberty and self-determination, as men and women took to Tahrir Square during instrumental demonstrations in 2011 and 2013, to speak out against governments that did not represent their best interest.

It is my hope that the continuing protests, aimed at promoting gender equality and safeguards for Egypt's women, will be as revolutionary as the demonstrations for political reform in 2011 and 2013.

Follow Michael on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Contributing Editor: @MAndrewRansom

What the Election of Sisi Means for Egypt

Abdul Fattah el-Sisi

Abdul Fattah el-Sisi

CAIRO, Egypt—In a landslide victory, former military chief Abdul Fattah el-Sisi won the 2014 presidential election in Egypt on Thursday. However, his win is sparking concern for Egyptians who question what will become of the country by reinstating military rule.

El-Sisi resigned from his position as the Egyptian military chief earlier this year in order to receive a presidential bid. The state media says that the polls showed Sisi won with ninety-three percent of the vote. Ahram Online reported a victory message was posted on Sisi’s official campaign Facebook page read, "The nation has put itself, with its great people's will, on the beginning of the right track and has stepped firmly and trustingly ... towards the future they've chosen."

The overwhelming support for Sisi in the polls does not necessarily reflect the country’s sentiments, however. It was predicted that there would be a voter turnout of only forty-six percent. Presidential Elections Commission member Tarek Shebi assessed the final voter turnout at forty-eight percent, according to Ahram Online.

Such low numbers of voter turnout, coupled with the high support for Sisi create skepticism for the legitimacy of the election.  It was reported by CNN that officials even added an extra day to vote, Wednesday, to promote voting, but the attempt proved fruitless. This election did not top the 2012 elections with almost fifty-two percent voter turnout, which does not help Sisi prove his legitimacy.

In addition to the skeptical numbers, the election was plagued with accusations of misconduct. The only opposition, Hamdeen Sabahi claims that his campaign representatives were arrested and attacked, according to CNN. Also, they said that Sisi’s campaign representatives were illegally allowed inside polling places. Allegations of forgery were also made.

The criticism of voter fraud and small voter turnout could be explained by voting boycotts from Sisi detractors. It is reported by BBC News that the Islamist group called the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as some liberal and secular activist groups, boycotted voting in the elections. BBC News also reported a senior member of the Brotherhood, Tariq al-Zumar, called the elections a "theatrical play which did not convince anybody".

Those that celebrate Sisi’s victory hope that his presidency will reverse the radical conservatism that the country saw under the previous presidency of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi-supporters see it as defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood whom the ousted Morsi was a member of.

Sisi has had a relentless response to removing the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt. He is responsible for 16,000 detentions and 1,400 executions of Muslim Brotherhood members, according to BBC News. The group has since been declared a terrorist organization and banned from the country.

But, according to the numbers, there are supporters of Sisi. Al Jazeera says that most of his supporters are leftover Mubarak supporters, like former members of the regime and business people. Also, the Coptic Christians.

Despite the surrounding controversy, Hamdeen Sabahi, Sisi’s opposition, admits defeat. CNN reports Sabahi released the official statement conceding that said, "It is time to respect the people's choice and admit my loss."'

Contributing Journalist: @allysoncwright

A Political Façade | Egyptian Military Turns Against The People

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Michael Ransom, Senior CorrespondentLast Modified: 21:35 p.m. DST, 04 April 2014

Egyptian Protesters in Chicago, Photo Courtesy of MoMoNWICAIRO - In Egypt’s chaotic political climate, the most basic freedoms are granted one moment and abolished the next, not unlike the seasonal implementation and suspension of the nation’s Constitution.

The same Society of Muslim Brotherhood members that were freely elected into public office less than three years ago are now the subjects of mass incarceration and capital punishment under President Adly Mansour’s administration. And the vast demonstrations that yielded the nation’s first-ever public presidential election in 2012 are now being smothered by state security. Throughout the country, dissent is met with death.

Free speech, peaceful assembly and media protection are now privileges granted only at the convenience of Mansour and the military agenda that he serves. Diplomacy and debate have succumbed to totalitarian suppression. Following a short flirtation with democratic ideals, Egyptians are now subject to the classic tools of fear mongering.

Recent headlines out of Cairo mark the worst abuses to date. The Mansour ministry is responsible for over a thousand civilian deaths, hundreds of mass incarcerations without cause, the suppression and kidnapping of Al Jazeera reporters, unfair trials, and now new claims that some security agents routinely rape and beat jailed protestors. The international community is demanding transparency in the treatment of Egyptian prisoners.

News organizations within the transcontinental nation are reporting the use of rape and torture to intimidate dissenters. A student with suspected allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood has been in police custody in Nasr since February. Since his capture, he has been beaten, tortured and raped by security agents, according to Al Jazeera. Young men and women are both targets of sexual abuse during detainment. This intolerable police brutality is an instrument used to silence this outspoken demographic. Student populations have become so mobilized in the aftermath of former President Mohamed Morsi’s removal that the government has now issued a ban on protests at universities.

For the young man who was raped and attacked by authorities, allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood could carry a death sentence. Last month, 529 men were collectively charged with the killing of a one policeman. The group was found guilty in a proceeding that lasted only a few hours and offered no physical evidence against the individuals. Most were not afforded a defense team, but the lawyers present were unable to speak on their clients’ behalf. The judge sentenced the group to death. The unconscionable decision will likely be repeated when a group of over 600 alleged Brotherhood members stand trial in the coming weeks. Surely, the judicial action is nothing less than mass murder under the guise of democracy.

Objective observers are hard-pressed to find any evidence that the regional turmoil has spurred even baby-steps towards democracy. The reorganization is better described as a <em>do-si-do</em> maneuver, and while a few dancers retired and some others joined in, generally the Republic has returned to its original position on the international stage. Certainly, the political dance in Egypt has been lethal in the past three years.

Unlike Morsi, Mansour gained the presidential pedestal through the military intervention of Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, who was the Commander-in-Chief of Egypt until late last month. Longstanding poverty and ideological schisms could not be solved instantly, but many Egyptians celebrated the first free presidential election. Amidst fanatical disapproval of Morsi during his short stint in Cairo, el-Sisi issued a warning to the incumbent. The president had but two days to ease tensions and rally his countrymen and women together, or he would be driven out by any means necessary.

Advocates of Morsi and proponents of democracy would both agree that the new elect had already garnered the requisite support of his people just a year prior via the ballot boxes throughout Egypt’s 27 districts. Instead of implementing order in the streets according to his constitutional provisions, el-Sisi opted to suspend the constitution altogether. Since then, the mounting fears of unrest have been self-fulfilling, prompting violence between Egyptian neighbors and colleagues. The violence between clashing ideologies are secondary, however, to the totalitarian government’s crimes against humanity, which continue to concern watchdog groups such as Human Rights Watch.

In the final days of March, el-Sisi resigned from his Commander-in-Chief post and has declared his intention to run for the nation’s highest office in the upcoming 2014 election. El-Sisi’s efforts to separate his name from the current chaos will not go unnoticed. Should he be elected to the presidency in the future, certainly he would understand the fragile and temporary nature of the position. In the meantime, the international community will lobby to protect the Egyptian people and their democratic will.

Follow Michael on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Senior Correspondent: @MAndrewRansom

The Arab Spring Withers | Al-Qaeda Opportunism

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 12:44 PM EDT, 13 September 2012

Burning American Flag, Photo by Pixel.EightSANAA, Yemen – The coordinated murders of Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and three other diplomats on the anniversary of 9/11 is troubling.

It also alludes to an intelligent design behind the attack by well-armed, militarized marauders whom some suspect may be loosely aligned with al-Qaeda.

The difference between the Cairo and Benghazi attacks are stark. Cairo seems to be a spontaneous outburst by protesters who were upset with a despicable anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube under several titles, including "Innocence of Muslims," whereas the objective of the protests in Benghazi appear to have provided cover for a military operation with an objective to kill Americans.

In both confrontations demonstrators blamed the United States for the film in which the Prophet Mohammad is depicted in terms seen as blasphemous by Muslims even though it was vociferously denounced by Washington.

Today, unrest spread across the region in response to the video. Most notably, hundreds of Yemeni demonstrators stormed the U.S. embassy compound in Sanaa also under the pretext of protesting the film, resulting in clashes with embassy security forces who fired in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The protesters, many of them young men, briefly retreated during the firing but quickly returned.

The protesters pelted the embassy security officers with stones and also ‘set fire to at least five cars just before they breached the heavily fortified compound. Riot control forces finally used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators. (Source: Reuters)

Although, only one protester died, at least 15 people were wounded. The U.S. State Department confirmed that all of the embassy personnel are safe. Reportedly, at least 12 people were arrested in the wake of the riot. The attack against the U.S. embassies in Benghazi, Cairo, and now Sanaa, elicited worries about the continued safety of American diplomatic personnel across the Middle East.

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Published: 13 September 2012 (Page 2 of 2)

As in Egypt yesterday, it was reported that Yemeni security forces were slow to intervene as the crowd began to march upon the embassy holding 'God is Greatest' signs and placards.

Today, after a call with President Obama, the president of Egypt Mohamed Morsi finally issued a tepid statement in response to the assault of the U.S. embassy in Cairo. Many view his statement as too little, too late.

By contrast, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen offered an immediate "personal apology" to President Barack Obama for the murder of American diplomats and the storming of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and promised a swift investigation.

Because Yemen is home of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is viewed by Washington as the most dangerous branch of the militant network established by Osama bin Laden,' this attack and the one in Libya are viewed with extreme caution.(Source: Reuters)

The success of the Arab Spring is quickly descending into a ‘winter of discontent’ because newly elected governments are ruling without mandates and are in the inevitable position of trying to coalesce numerous factions with differing objectives into a functioning democracy, as daunting a task as herding cats.

These fissures in Arab Spring governments have allowed the opportunistic and fluid tentacles of al-Qaeda to infiltrate and sabotage the efforts of these Middle Eastern countries’ to embrace Democracy.

As more information becomes available, many are considering the possibility that these attacks are not isolated events, but coordinated efforts to destabilize nations like Libya and Yemen which successfully accomplished regime change and formed valuable alliances with the United States.

Because the Yemeni ousted Ali Abdullah Saleh last year, President Barak Obama committed to provide $345 million in security, humanitarian and development assistance this year, over double last year's aid.

In light of current events, the U.S. Congress in conjunction with President Obama is evaluating continued aid to Yemen, but more specifically the average $2 billion in foreign assistance that the U.S. provides Egypt is also on the table for reevaluation. President Morsi’s government has not given any indication that it desires to continue the strong alliance the U.S. enjoyed with his predecessor, the former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

In response to this outright attack of U.S. diplomats and the potential danger to all American citizens in the region, President Barack Obama has dispatched two destroyers to the region and vowed to hunt down and bring to justice the perpetrators who murdered Ambassador Steven and 3 other Americans.

Our condolences go out to the families of these victims, while we reassert our belief that religious intolerance leads not to peace but to increased violence.

Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter
Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias

Egypt's Military Hijacks Elections

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:46 PM EDT, 18 June 2012

Egyptian Military Members, Photo by Jonathan RashadCAIRO,  Egypt - The first ‘free’ presidential election since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak 16 months ago were held and The Brotherhood’s Freedom declared its candidate, Mohammed Morsy as the victor. This despite the fact that the just as polls were closing, the ruling Military council issued constitutional amendments that gave sweeping authority to maintain its grip on power and subordinate the nominal head of state.

This leaves Egyptian protesters who gave so much in pursuit of freedom and a democratically elected government between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place.’ The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which has been ruling since Mubarak’s overthrow initially proclaimed it was in effect acting in the capacity of placeholder until a new president was elected.

Unfortunately, like many African nations, most recently Mali, once the military assumes power the likelihood of their relinquishing this power peaceably is historically low. Additionally, Egypt has a six decade long history of military rule and now the only alternatives are to return to military rule or submit to potential radical Islamist government.

In Sunday’s decree, the military assumed legislative authority after instructing the court to dissolve parliament. They will also control the drafting a new constitution but will not allow civilian oversight of its significant economic interests or other affairs.

Using its legislative authority, the military council issued another decree made public on Monday forming a new national defense council made up of 11 senior military commanders, including the defense minister, as well as the president, which would in effect solidify the role of the military as the highest authority over national security policy.

Morsy, 60, represents the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fundamentalist group which has emerged as the most powerful political faction since the uprising is sensitive to the vulnerabilities of his party. In a highly charged region in which Egypt has traditionally been staunch U.S. ally and a moderate voice in the Israeli Arab conflict, his only chance to retain his newly elected presidency is to quickly distance himself from radical elements.

In a victory speech Morsy clearly sought to assuage the fears of many Egyptians that the Brotherhood will try to impose stricter provisions of Islamic law. He said he seeks "stability, love and brotherhood for the Egyptian civil, national, democratic, constitutional and modern state" and made no mention of Islamic law.

Egypt is in a precarious and potential explosive position because as John C. Calhoun said, “The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.”