Egypt court to try 12 for sex assault on June 29

CAIRO (AA) – An Egyptian court has postponed until June 29 the first session of the trial of 12 people accused of involvement in five separate incidents of sexual assault in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a judicial source said Wednesday.

The upcoming session, in which witnesses and the alleged victims will testify, will be held behind closed doors due to the matter’s sensitivity, the source said.

Defendants face charges of the attempted rape, torture and armed robbery of several women in Tahrir Square during rallies in early June held to celebrate the inauguration of new Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Earlier this month, al-Sisi visited one woman in hospital who had been subject to a mob sexual assault in the iconic square.

The incident, which was captured on video and shared widely online, sparked public outrage.

A few days before the video’s appearance, former interim president Adly Mansour – installed by the army following last July’s ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi – issued an anti-sexual harassment law.

The legislation calls for between six months and two years in prison for violators.

Around 84 percent of Egyptian woman have been subject to verbal or physical sexual harassment at least once, according to a 2012 study by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, a local NGO.

Over the past two years, numerous incidents of mob sexual assault have been reported during Tahrir Square demonstrations. The video of the latest assault, however, provided the most graphic footage to date of such an attack.

Al-Sisi, while serving as defense minister, led Morsi’s ouster last summer following opposition prote

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