Egypt is moving to toughen the penalty for sexual harassment, to ensure it is considered a felony rather than as a misdemeanour under the current Penal Code.
The current maximum penalty for sexual harassment is up to one year in prison and a fine of no more than EGP 10,000 ($638).
In its meeting on Sunday, the House of Representatives’ constitutional and legislative affairs committee finally approved a draft law submitted by the Mostakbal Watan Party. The draft law called for amendments to the provisions of the Penal Code regarding sexual harassment.
The amendments are scheduled to be put to a vote during a plenary session of Parliament, and propose tightening the penalty for insulting others.
According to the proposed amendments, the penalties will be imprisonment of between two and four years, and a fine of between EGP 100,000-200,000, or one of the two.
The penalties will be handed to anyone found guilty of sexual harassment, or such insinuations, in a public or private place. It covers sexual or pornographic insinuations, whether by gesture, word, or action by any means, including wired, wireless, electronic or other technical means.
In some cases, the penalty will be doubled if the offender repeats the action, in which case the penalty may reach up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to EGP 500,000 ($31,908). This extends to offenders who have occupational, family, or educational authority over the victim, or who has exerted any pressure.
The penalties also cover crimes committed by two or more people, or if at least one of them possess a weapon.