Egypt charges three men after death of woman over 'male visitor'

Egypt charges three men after death of woman over 'male visitor'
The three suspects have preliminarily been charged with 'thuggery' and unlawful imprisonment.
2 min read
16 March, 2021
Initial reports claimed the woman was pushed to her death [Getty]
Egyptian prosecutors have referred three men to trial in connection with a woman who fell to her death amid a home invasion.

An initial police investigation found the men allegedly broke into the woman's Cairo apartment when a male visitor was at home.

Prevelant conservative social norms deem it prohibited for a woman to be alone with an unrelated man.

The three men, who reportedly included the woman's landlord, allegedly physically assaulted the 34-year-old woman and the male visitor who was tied up and beaten with sticks, according to investigators.

The three suspects have been charged with "thuggery" and unlawful imprisonment, according to local media reports.

It is unclear whether they will face charges in connection with the woman's death.

While initial media reports speculated the woman had been pushed from her sixth-floor balcony during the assault, the police claim she jumped to her death out of fear.

The woman, who has not been named and was a doctor, leaves behind two children.

Her death has triggered a renewed conversation about misogyny and so-called honour killings in Egypt.

It follows a resurgent #MeToo-style movement in Egypt last year that highlighted widespread incidents of sexual harassment and assault.
Read more: New draft law deems Egyptian women legally incapacitated

Social media accounts published anonymous allegations of serial sexual harassment and assault by prominent authors and journalists last year. 

The movement also led to the unearthing of the so-called Fairmont Crime, an alleged gang rape that took place in the Fairmont Nile City Hotel in Cairo in 2014. 

A new draft personal status law referred to Egypt's parliament last month has reaffirmed concerns over women's rights in the country.

If put into law, the proposal would see many women's decisions put into the hands of their fathers, husbands or closest male relatives.

The draft law would allow only a male guardian the right to sign a marriage certificate on a woman's behalf, and would also grant male relatives the right to annul a woman's marriage at any time.

It would also give male relatives the right to prevent a woman from travelling, and would restrict women's rights over their children by prioritising the father in custody disputes and other matters.

The draft law is a "shocking and frustrating" set-back for women's rights that would see female Egyptians reduced to "machines for birthing children", the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECRW) said in a statement.

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