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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt orders arrest of hotel rape suspects

The allegations emerged online last month [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 August, 2020

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A group of wealthy young Egyptian men now face arrest over accusations of the gang rape of a woman at Cairo's Fairmont Hotel in 2014.
Egypt's public prosecution on Monday ordered the arrest of a group of young men accused of the gang rape of a woman at a luxury Cairo hotel.

"The public prosecution ordered the arrest of those accused in the misconduct against a young woman at the Fairmont Hotel in 2014," it said in a brief statement, adding that they had been placed on airport watch-lists.

While the rape allegedly took place six years ago, the allegations emerged online in July, with social media accounts saying the group of up to six men had drugged and raped the woman.

The reports were widely shared, including by Assault Police, an Instagram account with more than 180,000 followers which is dedicated to pushing for justice for rape and sexual assault survivors.

Read more: Could Egypt's growing sexual harassment problem usher in a digital #MeToo?

The prosecution then launched a probe earlier this month, saying it had received "testimonies from people with knowledge about the incident".

Names and pictures of the accused, who hail from wealthy families, have circulated online, but AFP has been unable to verify their authenticity.

Assault Police on Monday posted a picture of the prosecution's announcement that it had ordered the men's arrests, with the comment: "Great news for the first time in a while!"

The Fairmont Hotel has said it had conducted an internal investigation but found "that at no time were any reports of the incident filed to the hotel, nor to the hotel's tourism police".

Egyptian women often face threats of retaliation for exposing sexual misconduct.

The latest accusations come amid a resurgence in the #Metoo movement which seeks to hold sexual predators in the deeply conservative country accountable for their actions. 

A 2013 study by UN Women found that 99 percent of women in Egypt had at some point in their lives been sexually harassed, either verbally or physically.

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