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News > World

Egyptian Activist Jailed on Charges of 'Fake News' For Posting Sexual Harassment Video

  • Organizations and human rights activists are demanding the release of Amal Fathy.

    Organizations and human rights activists are demanding the release of Amal Fathy. | Photo: Twitter / WHRD-MENA

Published 30 September 2018

Two days after she posted the video, Egyptian police raided her home and arrested her along with her husband and three-year-old son, who were both later released.

Amal Fathy, 38, an Egyptian actor and activist, was sentenced Saturday to two years in prison and fined US$562 for posting a video on social media criticizing the government for its failure to protect women against sexual harassment. Fathy was convicted of spreading “fake news” and “possessing indecent material.” She was charged with one year each for both crimes.


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In early May, Fathy posted a video on Facebook recounting her harassment by a cab driver and a bank advisor, and criticized the government for its lack of interest in ensuring the safety of women in Egypt.

"We were better off 70 years ago," she said in the video, adding that "women used to walk around in miniskirts and if someone was to even look at her, she could just call an officer and they would take him to court. It's infuriating — those that blame the way that women dress. Women dressed the same way 70 years ago. This didn’t happen then."

Fathy was charged with "disseminating a video on social media to publicly incite overthrowing the government, publishing a video that includes false news that could harm public peace, and misusing telecommunication tools."

"We will challenge the ruling," her lawyer Doaa Mustafa said, adding that Fathy could pay US$1,120 to have her sentence suspended.

Fathy is still in detention awaiting another trial in which she is accused of being a member of a “terrorist” group. She is a part of the now banned Apr. 6 youth movement which played a crucial role in the 2011 Tahrir Square protests that forced long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak out of office. The movement was banned by an Egyptian court in 2014.


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In the second case, she is accused of  "using a website to promote ideas calling for terrorist attacks, intentionally disseminating false news that could harm public security and interest, and belonging to a banned group."

“The sentencing is an appalling verdict that contains a message for every harasser: that he is free to harass without fearing punishment. And to every victim of harassment that if she speaks out, she will be jailed,” said her outraged husband Mohamed Lotfy.

Amnesty International’s North Africa campaign director Najia Bounaim also condemned the court ruling calling it an “injustice, where the survivor is sentenced while the abuser remains at large.”

A United Nations survey in 2013 revealed that 99.9 percent of women in Egypt reported that they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime. A 2017 Thomson Reuters poll described Cairo as the most dangerous megacity for women in the world.

In contrast to these data, Maya Morsi, the president of the national council for women has claimed that only 9.6 percent of women in Egypt have faced sexual assault.

Egypt has come under fire Friday from 17 U.N. human rights experts who criticized the government for using anti-terrorism laws to detain activists fighting for women’s rights, against corruption and extrajudicial killings.

"The systematic targeting of human rights defenders is yet another indication that the Egyptian government is operating a zero-tolerance approach to dissent, which is often suppressed under the pretext of countering terrorism," they said.

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