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Stabbing of woman who refused marriage proposal shakes Egypt

Naira Ashraf [@HayaIbr29958650/Twitter]
Naira Ashraf [@HayaIbr29958650/Twitter]

University student Mohamed Adel has been arrested and placed under investigation for the murder of Naira Ashraf who was stabbed to death outside Mansoura University in northern Egypt on Monday.

Security cameras at the entrance captured the shocking incident in a video that later went viral under the Arabic hashtags Mansoura University and Justice for Naira Ashraf.

Mohamed has reportedly confessed to killing Naira, 21, on Monday after she refused his marriage proposals or to communicate with him on social media.

Passers-by described how Mohamed beat Naira until she fell, hitting her head on the pavement.

Eyewitnesses also say that the killer tried to run away but people who witnessed the stabbing grabbed him and held onto him until the police arrived.

The tragic incident once again underscores the failure of Egyptian authorities to protect women from violence.

Instead, authorities have carried out a campaign of arrests against women with high social media followings, in one case sentencing an influencer to ten years in prison for human trafficking.

READ: EU criticised for 'watering down' criticism of Egypt at council meeting

In May 2020 Menna Abdelaziz was arrested by security forces after she appeared in a live video saying she had been raped and beaten and spent four months in prison accused of "inciting debauchery" and "violating family principles and values."

Women's rights activist Amal Fathy was sentenced to a year in prison after releasing a video on Facebook accusing the Egyptian government of failing to protect sexual harassment victims.

Earlier this year a Cairo court eventually found journalist Rasha Azab not guilty of defamation after she tweeted in solidarity with six women who accused film director Islam Azazi of sexually assaulting them and one of rape.

In a video that was widely shared in the aftermath of Naira's death, human rights lawyer Nehad Abo Komsan said: "As long as we do not take the complaints of young women seriously, and as long as we say that those fighting for women's rights are emboldening girls and causing trouble, this will be the result."

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