How do the Egyptian authorities curb the expose rapists’ movement?

Media reports and local and international news documented the Egyptian authorities’ tactics in curbing the movements to expose harassers and rapists, through security and media campaigns to defame victims and witnesses who choose to speak out about what happened. These campaigns become fiercer when the perpetrator (or perpetrators) is close to the regime or family of influential personalities within the system.

Human rights defenders accuse the Egyptian regime of not moving a finger to defend the rights of victims of harassment and rape. Others said that the Egyptian regime is working to curb the movements that have begun to take from the internet as a space to expose harassers and rapists or encourage victims to speak out and submit official reports. Opponents say that these campaigns are part of the regime’s broad vision to transform the Egyptian people into a fearful, cowardly people who do not demand their rights and are afraid to stand against any of the individuals close to the Egyptian regime.

Fairmont’s Rape

The student Seif Badour wanted to support his witness friend in a rape case that occupies a large portion of public attention in Egypt, a case known in the media as the crime of rape at the Fairmont Hotel. Seif accompanied his girlfriend to a police station in Cairo on August 28 after she offered to testify in favor of the victim, his sister said.

At the police station, he was also detained and imprisoned for four months on moral charges, relatives and activists described, even though Badour was 14 years old at the time of the crime at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel in Cairo in 2014. Seif had no connection to the alleged rape and was not present at the scene, but he was nevertheless arrested. Three sources close to Badour said that he was accused of drug use and debauchery. Seif’s lawyer remained silent. The Public Prosecution did not comment on questions from media and news agencies (including Reuters), and the Egyptian Information Authority, the Governmental Press Center, did not respond to requests for comment.

Not the only case

Badour was not a unique case. Two other people who came to testify in favor of the rape victim were arrested, the party organizer Ahmed Al-Ganzouri and Nazli Karim, the ex-wife of one of the defendants in the case. Sources close to them said that they were also arrested and imprisoned on the same charges as Badour. Their lawyer did not speak to avoid angering the authorities.

Three other witnesses who wanted to testify to strengthen the victim’s position, including Baddour’s friend, were also released after their arrest. The case on Baddour and the witnesses go hand in hand with the case of suspected rape suspects. Among the nine defendants in the rape case, five are in detention and four outside the country.

Some human rights activists say that the arrest of witnesses comes within the framework of a trend by the authorities to prioritize the silence and horror in society at the expense of women’s rights. They add that the authorities are trying to counter a growing movement aimed at exposing sexual assaults in Egypt, which raised comparisons with the international “Me To” campaign and helped encourage witnesses to testify about the alleged rape at the Fairmont Hotel in April 2014.

Gang rape

In the Fairmont case, a rooftop party was held, and at a smaller party later that night, a woman was the victim of a gang rape feast there. Encouraged by the MeToo movement, the alleged Fairmont victim posted her account of what happened without names online before filing an official complaint in July in which she said she had been drugged and gang-raped.

In a statement released on August 31, Egypt’s public prosecutor said that Baddour, now 21, and the five witnesses were being interrogated in the ongoing investigations into the Vermont case, without specifying the charges. The statement added that Boddour and the witnesses underwent drug tests, and two of them underwent medical examinations. In a report published in September, the US-based Human Rights Watch said that the exams that were performed were anal examinations.

Family and friends are calling for the release of Baddour and the two detained witnesses, saying they have committed no offense. Baddour’s sister, Nivan, said their lives were turned upside down. A hearing is scheduled to take place on Saturday, when they can be released or detained. Al-Ganzouri cooperates with prosecutors and lists the party’s details he said he organized at the Fairmont Hotel on the evening of the alleged rape, in a subsequent small ceremony he did not manage, according to one of his friends and a source close to the victim.

The family of Nazli, the ex-wife of one of the accused rape, said that she was falsely portrayed as the gang-rape victim in an anonymous smear campaign on the Internet. Some friends and activists say that Nazli’s psychological state has deteriorated in prison. Her mother, the artist, Noha Al-Amrousi, wrote on the “Nazli’s Life in Danger” Facebook page: “Nazli has transformed from a brave girl to a cowardly, frightened and terrified girl … Is this what you want to do with this generation? to turn into a generation that is mute from telling the truth?”