Thirteen boys arrested in Egypt for harassing female tourists

‘Given they are between 13 and 15, it does seem punitive and harsh to put them in a detention centre,’ says campaigner

Maya Oppenheim
Women’s Correspondent
Wednesday 11 May 2022 12:40 BST

Thirteen boys arrested in Egypt for harassing female tourists

A group of teenagers have been arrested in Egypt after being accused of harassing two female tourists at the Giza Pyramids, following a video being widely shared on social media.

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior said the boys, aged between 13 and 15, were arrested after the incident which took place during Eid celebrations earlier this month.

Footage of the boys walking behind the women attempting to take photos of them surfaced online – triggering outrage from Egyptians.

One of the female tourists can be seen attempting to push one of the boys away from her after a different member of the group looks like he is touching her.

In response, the boys said they were simply trying to take photos with the women and had not meant to trigger any alarm among them.

The prosecution statement said the boys would be kept in custody at a detention centre for young people until the case has been looked into.

While the complaint was submitted by a tourist guide who captured the footage, the female tourists have not reported the incident to the authorities, the statement noted.

The boys have been accused of verbal and physical harassment of the female tourists.

Charlotte Kneer, a campaigner on domestic abuse and sexual violence, told The Independent she thought detaining the young boys was “punitive”.

Ms Kneer, chief executive of a refuge for domestic abuse victims, added: “Given they are between 13 and 15, it does seem punitive and harsh to put them in a detention centre for young people.

“It is an education issue not a punishment issue. The people who should be taking responsibility are the people in power who are failing to educate the young men of Egypt. It seems like an extremely harsh punishment.”

The campaigner, a domestic abuse survivor whose violent partner was jailed for seven years in 2011, argued that “a more appropriate punishment” would be getting the boys to volunteer with women’s groups to provide them with an understanding of what it is like to “walk in a woman’s shoes”.

It comes after Jorie Dugan, a legal adviser for a global NGO called Equality Now, recently told The Independent: “Sexual harassment and gender-based violence remain extremely widespread across Egypt, despite recent legislative reforms aimed at guaranteeing rights for women.”

Ms Dugan warned the Egyptian government is not properly safeguarding women and girls from sexual violence and domestic abuse.

“And worse still, is in some cases criminalising women’s rights defenders and survivors of sexual violence who speak out about these issues,” she added.

Research carried out by the United Nations in 2013 discovered some 99 per cent of girls and women living in Egypt said they had been subjected to sexual harassment in their lives, while more than eight in 10 said they felt unsafe while walking the streets.

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