A forensics team has found new evidence in the “Ayat girl” case, in which a 15-year-old girl stabbed a microbus driver who attempted to rape her after a sinister plan devised by her boyfriend.
A forensic report released over the weekend found skin belonging to somebody other than Amira Ahmed Rizk under the nails of the microbus driver, suggesting that there is a third person involved in the case.
On Monday last week Amira was at Giza Zoo with her boyfriend when he took her phone. She tried to call him with another mobile and when someone else answered – the microbus driver – he said that he had found her phone and asked her to go to Al-Ayat.
When she arrived she found the microbus driver, her boyfriend and another man and together with other commuters they got into the van. When the boyfriend, his friend and the other commuters got out the microbus driver offered to take Amira home and then attempted to rape her at knifepoint.
Amira took the knife and stabbed him 14 times, her lawyer Dina ElMokadem told Daily News Egypt, in self-defence. Investigations show that the microbus driver was a friend of her boyfriend.
Social media users are calling for her release under the Arabic hashtag “the Ayat girl”. Under Egyptian law, the actual rape must take place in order for murder to be considered self-defence.
Despite the fact that at 15 Amira is still a child in the eyes of the law, she has been detained with adults and is being investigated by the general prosecution rather than the juvenile prosecution.
“Amira should not be detained because it was a case of self-defence. Even if she was not a child and only a woman, she should not have to be detained,” ElMokadem said.
Sexual harassment is rife in Egypt. A 2013 study from the United Nations showed that 99.3 per cent of Egyptian women have suffered some form of sexual harassment.
In November last year the Egyptian NGO Bassita launched a new campaign against sexual harassment on public transport challenging the “silent bystander”, or the people who see sexual harassment taking place and do nothing about it.
A government hotline advertised by the Egyptian National Council of Women ignored 95 per cent of calls made by women, according to an experiment conducted by Egyptian Streets.
Authorities have come under criticism for their inaction on sexual harassment, seen most recently with the Egyptian footballer Amr Warda who was briefly axed from the national team during the Africa Cup of Nations after sending a string of lewd text messages to women. After pressure from his teammates, Warda was reinstated onto the team.
Authorities punish women when they do speak out. In May last year activist Amal Fathy was sentenced to two years in prison after posting a video on Facebook in which she spoke out against sexual harassment, whilst in July last year a Lebanese woman was sentenced to eight years in prison for complaining that she was sexually harassed in the country.
Earlier this month Egyptian journalist Abeer Al-Safti was sexually harassed in prison.