Mum jailed for posting Facebook video describing sexual harassment facing trial
An Egyptian mum who called out shocking sexual harassment in a Facebook video has been told she faces trial, after more than three months being detained in prison.
Amal Fathy was arrested in May after posting the clip, in which she accused the government of failing to protect women.
That day she said she had been groped by a taxi driver and harassed by a police officer in separate incidents.
Within hours she and husband Mohamed Lotfy, and their three-year-old son, were arrested in Cairo, with the mum accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation and harming national security.
Mr Lotfy, a human rights activist, told Mirror Online the case demonstrates how the government deals with dissent.
He said: "Any form of dissent in Egypt is punished – this is why she was detained.
"I am a human tights defender so the government uses her arrest to punish me – or blackmail me."
Last month it emerged that the mum-of-one was unable to walk as a result of her cruel treatment since her arrest on May 11.
However Mr Lotfy said her condition has since improved.
He said: "She had suffered some complications in prison with her leg, but now takes the right medication and can walk properly again."
He called on the international community to pressure the Egyptian government for his wife’s release.
He said: "I am optimistic she will be free. The more people speak about her case, the more likely she will be released soon."
In the video, Amal said that in the space of a few hours she had been groped by a taxi driver, and a police officer at her bank had been "talking dirty" while "grabbing his penis".
Voicing her frustration at government inaction over harassment, the former actress said she was "choked" by the country, and added: "Screw the police."
In another section of the video she states: “People are quiet about the dirt that happens," and berated "dirty men" in the country.
She has been in prison since May 11 in a case which has sparked outrage among human rights campaigners, who warn that she could could face years behind bars.
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It is still unclear what charges she will face when she goes on trial on August 11.
After her arrest she was accused of belonging to a terrorist group, calling for acts of terrorism and publishing false news.
She is also accused of publishing a video calling for the government to be overthrown, harming national security and misusing the internet.
Amnesty International has called for Amal to be freed.
Najia Bounaim, the charity’s North Africa Campaigns Director, said: “Amal Fathy was brave in speaking up about her experience of sexual harassment in Egypt and should be applauded for her courage – not put on trial.
“Instead of prosecuting perpetrators of violence against women, the Egyptian authorities are persecuting Amal Fathy for speaking out against sexual harassment. It is a shocking case of injustice.
"She is a human rights defender who told her truth to the world and wanted to highlight the vital issue of women’s safety in Egypt. She is not a criminal.
“We are once again calling on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Amal Fathy. Her detention and referral to trial for peacefully expressing her opinions is an affront to the freedom of expression guaranteed by Egypt’s own constitution, as well as Egypt’s repeated commitments to combat sexual harassment.”
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