The conviction of a former student for harassing two women is the first in a case that has sparked the #MeToo movement in the most populous country in the Arab world.
An Egyptian court sentenced a former student to three years in prison for sexually harassing two young women, in a case that sparked outrage on social media under the hashtag #MeToo.
The Cairo Economic Court, which judges cybercrimes, on Tuesday convicted Ahmed Bassam Zaki, a former student of the American University in Cairo, for blackmail and sexual harassment of two women.
Zaki, who is in his twenties, can appeal the verdict to a higher court.
Complaints against Zaki appeared online in July in the form of testimonies – many from classmates – posted by the “Assault Police” Instagram account, including alleged rape and dozens of assault cases against girls and women. women, some involving blackmail.
Some of the alleged incidents involved girls as young as 14.
Zaki will also be tried in criminal court on January 9 for sexually assaulting three underage girls and attempting to blackmail them.
The #MeToo movement aims to empower those involved in sexual misconduct and those who cover it up.
Zaki is the first conviction in a case that has fueled the movement in the most populous country in the Arab world.
The former student, who was arrested in July, has been accused of undermining the pool of mutual friends on Facebook, online groups or school clubs to target women.
He started with flattery, then pressured women and girls to share intimate photos that he later blackmailed them with if they didn’t have sex with him, according to the charges.
In some cases, he threatened to send compromising photos to members of his family.
Zaki came from a wealthy family and studied at the American International School, one of Egypt’s most expensive private high schools, and the American University in Cairo. AUC officials said he left the university in 2018.
Zaki’s case, activists say, shows that misogyny crosses Egypt’s austere class lines.
Sexual assault and harassment are deep problems in Egypt, where victims must also grapple with the undercurrent of a conservative culture that typically ties female chastity to a family’s reputation.
In the courts, the burden of proof rests heavily on the victims of such crimes.
Egypt’s parliament in August approved amendments to the penal code granting victims of sexual assault the right to anonymity.
The recent #MeToo momentum has exposed shocking cases across the country, including a Suspected gang rape of 2014 of a woman in a luxury hotel in Cairo.
Allegations of sexual misconduct have also been made against several human rights activists and prominent journalists, but these allegations have not been brought to court.