Egypt’s parliament discusses toughening penalties for bullying and harassment

The Egyptian House of Representatives is discussing new amendments to toughening penalties and criminal procedures to confront the phenomena of bullying and sexual harassment. The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in the Egyptian parliament approved amendments submitted by the government, which include imprisonment for no less than six months, and a fine of up to EGP 10,000 ($625 dollars), and not more than EGP 30,000 ($1,880). According to the amendments, if the perpetrator has authority over the victim, the aggravated penalty is increased.

The punishment is more severe, with imprisonment for no less than a year, and a fine of no less than EGP 20,000 ($1,250 dollars), and not more than EGP 100,000 ($6,250) or one of these two penalties, if two or more persons commit the crime. If the perpetrator returns to committing the same crime, “the penalty shall be doubled, in its minimum and maximum limits.” The amendment included some provisions of the penal code, to counter the phenomenon of bullying, whereby anyone who personally or through others displays force or threatens or uses violence against the victim is considered a bully.

The committee also agreed to amend some provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law to protect the whistleblowers of sexual harassment crimes, for fear of damaging their reputations. Sexual harassment is spreading in Egypt, which has become a phenomenon threatening the security of society. At the same time, activists launched campaigns to combat bullying and harassment among members of the Egyptian community, most of which suffer from conditions of poverty and unemployment.

The draft law is considered the first legislative, governmental measure to confront the phenomenon of bullying after it has grown and has become a danger to society and an obstacle preventing the implementation of the obligations of a decent life for citizens.