Egypt’s New President El-Sisi Apologizes to Tahrir Rape Victim

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Egypt's newly sworn-in president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, apologized in person to the 19-year old woman who was brutally sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square during inaugural celebrations for el-Sisi on Sunday. The assault was caught on video and circulated widely.

Appearing visibly moved, el-Sisi visited the woman in the Cairo hospital where she was being treated. "I have come to tell you and every Egyptian woman that I am sorry. I am apologizing to every Egyptian woman," said el-Sisi, while standing beside the woman’s hospital bed.

"I tell the judiciary that our honor is being violated on the streets and that is not right,” el-Sisi continued. “It is not acceptable, even if it is one case.”

Yesterday el-Sisi ordered a crackdown on sexual harassment, describing the phenomena, which is epidemic in Egypt, as "alien.”

El-Sis’s spokeman said that the new president had instructed the prime minister to set up a ministerial committee to investigate the problem and outline a national strategy to restore "real and moral" values to the streets of Egypt.

El-Sisi also has instructed that the new law enacted by against sexual harassment be implemented without delay. Depending on the offense, the offender can garner up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds (close to $7,000).

In one of his last acts in office, out-going Egyptian president Adly Mansour issued a decree last Friday making sexual harassment a crime. Depending on the offense, the offender can be sentenced up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds (close to $7,000).

Activists are planning an anti-sexual assault rally in Tahrir Square on Friday, June 14 in protest of the epidemic numbers of incidences perpetrated by men in Egypt.

According to a recent UN report, more than 99 percent of the hundreds of women surveyed in Egypt report that they have experienced some form of sexual harassment – at work, at home or on the street — ranging from verbal assaults to rape.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org