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Egypt prosecution orders arrest of Fairmont Hotel rapists

The five-star Fairmont Nile City hotel, where an alleged sexual assault took place in 2014, in the Egyptian capital Cairo on 30 July 2020 [SAMER ABDALLAH/AFP via Getty Images]
The five-star Fairmont Nile City hotel, where an alleged sexual assault took place in 2014, in the Egyptian capital Cairo on 30 July 2020 [SAMER ABDALLAH/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt has ordered that the men accused of gang-raping a young woman at the Fairmont Hotel be arrested.

The prosecution has also put them on a list of people who are banned from travelling.

At the beginning of the month, a group of men were accused of drugging and raping a young woman at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel in Cairo in 2014.

According to social media posts the men signed their initials on her body and filmed the abuse, later using it to blackmail her.

It was reported that they had a WhatsApp group on which they shared videos of the women they had raped.

The revelations followed the arrest of serial sex offender Ahmed Bassem Zaki, who was accused of some 100 crimes after women shared their experiences online.

The Instagram account which exposed Zaki, Assault Police, was shut down after its administrators received death threats.

READ: Egypt to join AU anti-corruption convention 

Following these revelations, pressure has risen on the government to take action after many Egyptian women felt emboldened to come forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment.

Critics have used the revelations to decry the authorities’ failure to hold sexual predators to account whilst detaining women on ludicrous charges, including threatening family values and promoting debauchery.

Victims of sexual assaults in Egypt are often asked what they wore to encourage the attack and why were they there in the first place, rather than placing the blame on the perpetrators who committed the crimes.

Around the time the Fairmont Hotel gang rape was revealed, experts questioned whether authorities would take action because the perpetrators were the sons of prominent businessmen.

Under pressure, the government recently issued a draft law which offers victims and witnesses of sexual harassment anonymity, though experts have said that it is the long-term implementation of such a law that is important.

Laws stipulating penalties for harassers and assaulters already exist yet are not sufficiently implemented.

Women’s rights campaigners have said that attitudes towards sexual assault have to change, including ceasing blaming women and an end to the culture of impunity.

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