A one-year suspended sentence and a fine of 50,000 LE for the lawyer accused of defaming the victim of mass sexual assault in Meet Ghamr.
Yesterday, Sunday, February 20, 2022, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and the Center for Egyptian Women's Affairs (CEWLA) obtained a ruling from the Mansoura Economic Court of Appeal in case No. 141 of 2022 of threats and defamation of the victim in the incident of mass sexual assault in the city of Meet Ghamr, which took place in December 2020. The appeal verdict confirmed the conviction of Hani Mossad Obada Al-Saeedi, the lawyer of one of the accused in the mass sexual assault case and ruled the cancellation of the previous ruling, sentencing him again to one year’s imprisonment with hard labor, suspended for 3 years, and a fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds.
Based on the evidence provided by the lawyers of the victim, the Public Prosecution had referred the aforementioned lawyer and another lawyer named Khaled El-Desouky to trial before the Economic Court, in July 2021. The accusations at the time included insulting and slandering the victim, assaulting the sanctity of private life, misusing communication devices to pursue the victim, and using an account on social media to commit these crimes.
On October 30, 2021, the Mansoura Economic Court sentenced the first defendant to two years in prison and a bail of five thousand pounds, and a fine of 300,000 pounds; it also sentenced the second accused to six months in prison, a bail of five thousand pounds, and a fine of 15,000 pounds; this was accompanied with the rejection of the civil case of the accused and the referral of the civil case of the victim to civil court. Until yesterday's ruling, the second defendant, Khaled El-Desouky, had not appealed the previous ruling.
The two accused lawyers had published on their personal accounts - during the investigation into the original felony, which included indecent assault and mass sexual harassment - videos containing defamation of the victim, aimed at threatening her with submitting police reports accusing her of "violating family values". The two accused also published personal photos of the victim, stolen from her personal accounts, with the aim of putting pressure on her and threatening her to change her statements against the seven defendants accused of assaulting her. The two defendants are lawyers for some of the defendants in the incident of mass sexual assault on the victim in the city of Meet Ghamr in December 2020. Yesterday’s ruling comes as a confirmation of the first ruling, which represents a legal response and a judicial precedent that protects survivors of sexual assaults in the face of behavior that has become common in these cases, as most of the defendants threaten survivors or those in solidarity with them in order to change their statements or positions in defense of women’s rights.
It is to be noted that the verdict in the original assault incident was a shocking verdict, as the Mansoura Criminal Court decided in March 2021 to acquit the seven defendants of the charges of indecent assault and harassment. After several organizations defending women's rights called on the Public Prosecution to appeal the ruling, the Public Prosecution submitted the appeal in May 2021, and the date for the trial has not yet been set.