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Egypt arrests 22 for incitement during martyr of chivalry trial

18-year-old high school student Mahmoud El-Banna was stabbed to death after defending a sexual harassment victim [Twitter]
18-year-old high school student Mahmoud El-Banna was stabbed to death after defending a sexual harassment victim on 10 October 2019

Egypt’s interior ministry has arrested 22 people for allegedly inciting others against the state following the murder of Mahmoud El-Banna.

El-Banna was killed earlier this month in a revenge attack after he intervened to help a student who was being sexually harassed in the street.

Later that evening he posted on Facebook “it’s not manly to beat a girl in the street” and in retaliation three boys ambushed him and stabbed him in the neck and stomach.

After he died in hospital, El-Banna was dubbed “the martyr of chivalry” and thousands marched in the streets beside his body.

READ: 9-year-old girl dies as rains hit Cairo

His death became the centre of a debate about sexual harassment in Egypt where the government is accused of inaction, despite the alarming rate at which it occurs.

Egypt has been labelled the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman, with the prevalence of sexual harassment the main factor. A 2013 UN report said over 99 per cent of women in Egypt has suffered some form of sexual harassment.

After his death security services announced that El-Banna was killed following an altercation with his friends in a café, however CCTV footage later circulated showed him being chased through the streets by the perpetrators.

His trial was postponed earlier this week after requests that the court verify the age of the main suspect Mohamed Rageh. As a minor, Rageh faces 10-15 years in prison for premeditated murder but if it is proved he is over 18 he will be tried as an adult and faces the death penalty.

According to the pro-regime newspaper Al-Ahram, 22 were arrested for “provoking chaos and riots, blocking roads and disrupting traffic” whilst demonstrating in front of the court room in Shebin El-Koum where Rageh was being tried.

The government has labelled the detainees terrorists, part of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, and accused them of using the recent murder to “incite the public against the state”.

The Egyptian regime regularly accuses activists, members of the opposition, or even people who are not politically active of being part of the Brotherhood, an organisation labelled a terror group after the coup against Mohmed Morsi in the summer of 2013.

READ: UN demands Egypt investigate torture allegations

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