Mother, Activist Amal Fathy Sentenced in Egypt for Video on Harassment

Published September 30th, 2018 - 01:50 GMT
Amal Fathy and her husband Mohamed Lotfy, who was banned from the courthouse during her sentencing. (IAPL)
Amal Fathy and her husband Mohamed Lotfy, who was banned from the courthouse during her sentencing. (IAPL)

In the latest of a series of arrests in Egypt, authorities charged Amal Fathy, a human rights activist noticable in the 2011 Revolution, to two years in jail over posting a video criticising the increasing number of sexual harassment in the country, and the government turning a blind eye to the issue.

Amal was given, Saturday, a 2-year suspended sentence and was fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds [$560] for seeking to harm the Egyptian state through “spreading fake news”.

It all started in May 2018, after Amal posted a 12-minute video on Facebook narrating how she had been sexually harassed while visiting a bank. In the video, Amal criticised the government’s neglect of women and the expanding issue of sexual harassment in Egypt.

She was taken into detention two days after posting the video and faced allegations of being a member of a terrorist organisation.

The Social media exploded in anger after the court announced charges against Amal followed by the sentence.

Translation: “Have you ever seen a woman sexually harassed by a random immature guy and when she exposed it on Facebook, the police arrested her from her house and sentenced her for two years and 30,000 (Egyptian) Pound fine? Where else in the world could this happen. I support the brave Amal Fathy.”

This comes also after the government in Cairo passed a law that tightens controls over the internet by removing any content interpreted as offensive to the state and/or the Egyptian public. It also allows the detaining of any person who express ideas and opinion against the government.

Translation: “Stop your revenge of the Revolution. You will never kill the idea and the revolution is the purest idea.”

Some bloggers were also upset over the fact that movements to protect women from sexual harassment are going viral around the world while Egypt is jailing anyone who dares to speak publicly about this.

Translation: “An Egyptian court defends sexual harassment and jails activist Amal Fathy for two years and a half over releasing a video criticising the government’s failure to combat this growing phenomena. Shame.”

This action has also been taken because Egypt has one of the highest rates of sexual harassment around the world and listed as the most dangerous city for women. This is why Egyptians want to change that.

Amal is not the first woman in Egypt who is being treated in this way. Earlier in June 2018, a Lebanese tourist in Egypt was taken to court and sentenced to eight years in jail on charges of “deliberately spreading false rumors harmful to society and infringe upon religions.”

Read More: "You Deserve What Sisi is Doing!" Lebanese Tourist Gets Arrested Over Facebook Post

Some bloggers are also raising doubt that the actual reason behind the Amal sentence is her membership of the April 6 Youth Movement advocating the principles of the 2011 Revolution.

Translation: “Amal Fathy was sentenced to two years in jail over posting a video criticising one of the banks where she was sexually harassed by a police officer. And of course, if Amal was not member of the April 6 Movement or if her husband was not a director of a rights organization and the lawyer of Giulio Regeni, the video would have been be taken easy without any fuss.”

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