CAIRO: Egypt’s Prosecutor-General announced Monday that men arrested for sexual harassment during the recent Eid holiday will be seeing the inside of the North Agouza courtroom next week, where they will be put on trial on Oct. 13.
Coinciding with the second anniversary of Downtown Cairo’s massive sexual harassment attack in 2006, the recent attack hit women on Gameat Al-Dowal Al-Arabiya Street in Mohandiseen last Thursday.
Some 150 young men physically attacked female pedestrians, tearing some of their clothes off, eyewitnesses said.
Police forces were called in to rescue the women and later arrested 38 men while the rest fled the scene. It is reported that 30 of them were released for “lack of evidence while two men, who were caught red-handed, are still in custody.
It was reported later that police forces are still looking for the women who fled the scene in fear, to get their statements and complete the investigation.
Three of the victims were taken into custody for questioning, while one of the three witnesses, who don the niqab (the full face veil), said that the attackers ripped off some of the girls’ head scarves as they tried to grope their bodies.
The attackers were between 15 and 22 years old.
“This has turned from a problem to a phenomenon, said Engy Ghozlan from the Women’s Center for Human Rights. “Yet the positive side is that the police took action this time, arresting some of the men unlike the incident two years ago when the police stood by and watched.
In October 2006, during the same holiday that follows the holy month of Ramadan, mobs of young men attacked female bystanders, ripping their clothes and groping them near a local movie theater in Downtown Cairo.
Nobody believed the women’s stories until evidence appeared on blogs that included video and pictures of the event, hence the increased police presence during public holidays.
This year’s mob attack was reported by some state-run newspapers in the crime page, with Al-Ahram newspaper juxtaposing it with smaller news pieces about a prostitution bust in the same area.
“Still it’s progress for the attack to be reported in the state-run newspapers, as opposed to the previous assault, Ghozlan added.
“This is outrageous and frightening at the same time, May Saied, a 22-year-old student told Daily News Egypt. “I did well staying at home during Eid.
The Mohandiseen incident highlights a challenge Egyptian and foreign women face on a daily basis.
A report published two months ago by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights claimed that 98 percent of foreign women and 60 percent of Egyptian women are harassed in Egypt daily.