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Egypt arrests three new suspects in gang rape case

By AFP

Added 1st September 2020 12:53 PM

Egyptian authorities have criminalised sexual harassment since 2014, but many women complain that the problem remains rampant.

Egypt arrests three new suspects in gang rape case

UN surveys have found that most Egyptian women have been subject to harassment ranging from catcalling to pinching and groping. File photo

Egyptian authorities have criminalised sexual harassment since 2014, but many women complain that the problem remains rampant.

EGYPT|CRIME|RAPE

Egyptian authorities have arrested three new suspects over the alleged gang rape of a woman six years ago in a luxury Cairo hotel, the public prosecution said on Monday.

The case has stirred a public outcry amid the resurgence of a #MeToo movement which seeks to hold sexual predators in the deeply conservative country accountable for their actions.

"The public prosecutor has ordered the detention of three suspects...for the purpose of investigating events for which they have been accused as part of the ongoing investigation into the attack on a young woman in the Fairmont Nile City hotel," a statement said.

The rape allegedly took place in 2014 but the allegations only emerged online in July.

Names and pictures of suspects, who appear to hail from wealthy families, have circulated online, but AFP has been unable to verify their authenticity.

The new suspects will be administered tests for possible drug use, the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor also said three previously arrested in the case have been freed on bail amounting to 100,000 Egyptian pounds (5,280 euros.) The identities of these suspects were not released.

Last week, the Egyptian prosecution said the case involved nine men -- seven of whom fled the country and were being pursued by Interpol.

The prosecution said Sunday that a man identified as Omar Hafez was arrested August 28 and ordered detained for four days pending an investigation into the assault.

Last Wednesday, the prosecution announced the arrest of Amir Zayed, another suspect in the case who it said was also accused of involvement in "a similar incident".

On Saturday, Lebanese police said it had arrested three Egyptian nationals after receiving a letter from the Egyptian Interpol.

The Egyptian prosecution launched the probe earlier in August after receiving a letter from the National Council for Women, which included a complaint from the woman who claimed she had been gang-raped at the Fairmont in 2014.

The hotel has said it had conducted an internal investigation but found "that at no time were any reports of the incident filed to the hotel, nor to the hotel's tourism police".

UN surveys have found that most Egyptian women have been subject to harassment ranging from catcalling to pinching and groping.

Egypt's parliament earlier this month approved amendments to the criminal code granting victims of sexual assault the right to anonymity.

Egyptian authorities have criminalised sexual harassment since 2014, but many women complain that the problem remains rampant.

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