Sunday, March 30, 2014

General Sisi mocked as pimp in hashtag campaign

Al Jazeera
Sisi mocked in Egypt internet campaign

Presidential hopeful subject of sarcastic "vote for the pimp" movement on social media, leading to calls for a ban.

March 30, 2014

 
Opponents of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have launched an internet campaign against his bid to become the Egyptian president, leading to calls from the pro-Sisi camp for a ban on social media.

The Twitter hashtag, roughly translated from Arabic as "Vote for the Pimp", is being used on Facebook and Twitter in several languages to mock Sisi's announced plans to run in the presidential poll in April.

According to the tracking website, Keyhole, the hashtag achieved more than 100 million impressions within days of creation, and generated tens of thousands of messages on Twitter. Keyhole states that 23 percent of the hashtag's impressions came from outside Egypt.

"The power cuts four times a day, therefore #vote_for_the_pimp," read one of the tweets.

The word "pimp" is extremely offensive in Egyptian culture, but its use also mockingly references the North American meaning: showy, impressive, the boss of a gang.

It comes in response to pro-Sisi hashtags over the past months, including "I will vote for Sisi" and "Complete your good deed", reflecting the general's soaring popularity among many Egyptians.

The use of the phrase has also broken beyond the realms of the internet: Footage taken by activists during Friday rallies in Egypt shows protesters chanting "Vote for the pimp, a president for Egypt."

Graffiti has also appeared in Egypt carrying the phrase.

But calls were made by several talk-show hosts condemned the campaign.

Khairy Ramadan, a CBC TV host, said it was a "character assassination ... supported by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood", and called for Twitter to be blocked.

Emad Adeeb, another host, said Egypt should follow the example of Turkey, whose prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, blocked Twitter and the video sharing website, Youtube, after leaks of sensitive information.

“Erdogan has shut down Twitter altogether simply because they described him a thief,” he said.

The presidential election will come almost 10 months after Sisi, as defence minister and army commander, led military efforts to remove from power the country's first elected civilian president, Mohamed Morsi.


*Photo of Sisi propaganda memorabilia courtesy of REUTERS

Egypt: Detainees routinely tortured at hands of police

BBC News
Egypt crisis: Young detainees allege torture






Brutal beatings, sexual abuse, and electric shocks are being carried out on detainees, including teenage children, in Egypt, according to testimonies gathered by the BBC. 

As many 20,000 people are estimated to have been held since last July in a sweeping clampdown on dissent.

A growing number are now emerging from police stations and prisons with serious allegations of torture.

The claims are denied by the military-backed interim government.
 
'ELECTROCUTED'

For 15-year old Ahmed Abdel Fattah, the trouble began on 24 January, when his fondness for his mobile phone cost him his freedom.

He was using the phone to film an Islamist protest near his home in Sharqiya Province, north of Cairo.

"I was curious," he said. "Why shouldn't I film something that I see every night on TV?"

When some local thugs tried to steal the phone he refused to hand it over, so they handed him over to the police.

The softly-spoken and neatly dressed teenager says that was the start of 34 days of torture at a local police station.

"They electrocuted me in sensitive places like my spine, here and here on my arms, and in sensitive areas like between my legs," he said, gesturing to the areas.

"And when they electrocuted me I used to fall down on the ground, and I could not stand up. At the same time they were beating me. And sometimes they would throw water to increase the voltage."

Ahmed said he got special attention from the police - in spite of his youth - because he was suspected of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

"They wanted me to be afraid," he said. "They thought I would have a lot to confess to. Of course I am not from the Brotherhood at all. They were saying so-and-so is getting outside financing, and this person has weapons, and you are getting weapons from them. They said you had Molotov Cocktails on you and you hit an officer. I told him I could not hit an ant."

Ahmed says he was accused of carrying a total of 18 Molotov Cocktails, though a previously broken arm means he struggles to lift much.

His father Abdel Fattah, a school inspector, sat grim-faced alongside him, as he gave his account. He told us Ahmed suffers from epilepsy, and his health has worsened since his arrest.
 
'SYSTEMATIC TORTURE'

Many of those who emerge from detention are too frightened to speak, but we have tracked down other detainees who provided detailed and credible testimony about a range of severe abuses.

Their accounts cannot be independently verified but they tally with reports from leading human rights groups who say that there is widespread torture and brutality in detention.

"Egypt has gone back to the systematic torture of the Mubarak era," said Gamal Eid, of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. "There is more torture now because there are more people being arrested. What's different is that the proportion of barbaric torture is higher."

Yassin Mohammed says he is proof of that. The slight 19-year-old is a seasoned democracy campaigner. He was arrested in central Cairo in January and held for 42 days.

He told us he had decided to speak out for the sake of others who are still being tortured. His account of being electrocuted was punctuated by pauses and a troubled nervous laugh.

"I was expecting that they were just going to start hitting me - normally - like every time," he said, "and then I was surprised when they took off my trousers and put the wires on me. I was screaming and shouting.

"While you are being electrocuted, there are strange things happening to you, you don't know what's going on, you feel like you are going to die, and sometimes you feel like you are completely drunk, completely out of it, and at the end after they remove the wire, you just feel dizzy-dizzy-dizzy."

With shaking hands, Yassin demonstrated how his body continued to tremble after the wires were removed. He told us that after his session he heard the police calling out for others to be brought in.

Yassin says his torment included "unspeakable things". His account of being sexually assaulted is too disturbing to print.

His arrest came at a protest calling for the release of several detainees, including a 19-year-old student called Ayat Hamada.
 
THREATENED WITH RAPE
 
She is now back home, having shared a similar fate.

Ayat says she too was sexually assaulted, at the time of her arrest. In this conservative society, it is a rare admission from a woman.
 
"It was physical," she told us. "I don't dare to explain more. But they harassed us in a very, very humiliating way, and the aim was to break our spirits."

As she spoke her friend, Salsabile Gharabawi, squeezed her hand for moral support. The women sat side-by-side, with headscarves covering their hair. Both said they were beaten and threatened with rape.

Salsabile, 21, a business student, said police forced her and other women to have pregnancy tests.
"They parked the car away from the hospital gate," she said, "and made us walk in the street with handcuffs. They kept making us go in circles around the whole hospital so people could see us. The humiliation broke us more than the beatings."

It is easy to get detained in Egypt these days - just go to a protest, or even walk by. An estimated 20,000 people have been rounded up in a brutal crackdown on dissent since the army ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July.
 
INDIGNITIES AND BEATINGS
 
In a bitter irony, more than 1,000 were arrested on 25 January - the third anniversary of the revolution which swept away Hosni Mubarak. Khaled El-Sayed, a newly-wed, was one of them. The 30-year-old engineer was a leading activist in the revolution.

He described a routine of abuses, indignities and beatings - the worst of which was a brutal assault lasting over half an hour. It happened after officers found a letter from his wife in his overcrowded prison cell.

"There were two on this side and two on that side," he said. "The four flanking me starting beating me. They starting hitting me against the pillar, they hit me in the back, and they put me on the ground and started kicking me in the stomach." Khaled was freed after 42 days, but is still a prisoner to his nightmares.



'NO COVER-UP'

A senior official showed us video footage of a neat and clean prison - filmed several years ago - and told us there was no problem.

"I categorically deny that there is any such thing as electrocution or torture in prisons or police stations," said General Abu Bakr Abdel Karim.

When challenged, he conceded there might be "mistakes or transgressions" by police but he insisted this did not reach the level of torture. "It's not covered up," he said. "We don't stay quiet about it. We confront it and we hold anyone who has mistreated the public to account."

Human rights groups disputed that. According to Amnesty International's Nicholas Piachaud, the authorities do not take reports of torture seriously and most go unpunished.

Egypt is now counting down to a presidential election. The former Army Chief, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, looks certain to emerge as the new Pharaoh. There are fears that torture could tighten its grip under President Sisi.

At the heavily fortified interior ministry we asked for the government's response to the growing number of grave abuse allegations.

Journalist Mayada Ashraf shot dead, 3 others killed during police crackdown

Australian Associated Press

Four dead as Egypt police, Islamists clash

March 29, 2014


Four people including an Egyptian woman journalist have been killed in Cairo as police clashed with Islamists protesting against ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's presidency bid, a security official said.

The violence erupted in a deeply polarised Egypt as supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi took to the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities to vent their anger at Sisi who overthrew the Islamist nine months ago.

Mayada Ashraf, who worked for the privately owned Al-Dustour newspaper, was shot in the head while covering clashes in the northern neighbourhood of Ein Shams, the official said, adding that three more people were killed in the same violence and 10 wounded.

Four people were also wounded in clashes in the northern province of Damietta, health ministry official Khaled al-Khatib said.

In Cairo's eastern neighbourhood of Madinat Nasr, students from Al-Azhar Islamic university hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at riot police who fired tear gas to disperse them, security officials said.

Underlining Egypt's deep polarisation, clashes also erupted between Morsi supporters and his opponents in the northern Cairo districts of Ein Shams and Matareya, the officials said.

Ten Morsi supporters were arrested in clashes with security forces in Damietta province, and 28 were arrested in the southern Minya province for carrying leaflets hostile to the military and the police, they added.

Demonstrators in the southern Cairo working class district of Helwan and in Fayum province, southwest of the capital, fired birdshot and police responded with tear gas, state news agency MENA reported.

Supporters of the widely popular presidential hopeful, who toppled Morsi after massive street protests against his turbulent one-year rule, also demonstrated to celebrate his candidacy.

Carrying Egyptian flags and portraits of Sisi, dozens marched in Alexandria and scores gathered in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, symbol of the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran president Hosni Mubarak.

Sisi, who was also defence minister and deputy prime minister, announced his resignation on Wednesday to enable him to stand in the election.

His candidacy is likely to further inflame Islamist protesters and worry secular activists who fear a return to rule by the military and the strong-arm tactics of the Mubarak era.

Sisi faces no serious competition in his bid for the presidency and is widely seen as the only leader able to restore order after more than three years of turmoil.

The electoral committee said in a statement it will hold a news conference on Sunday to announce the timetable of the presidential election, MENA reported.

The poll is scheduled to take place before June.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has rejected Sisi's candidacy outright and a coalition of his supporters had called Friday's protests.

*Photo of deceased journalist Mayada Ashraf courtesy of Al-Dostour Newspaper

 

Police arrest 5 postal strikers; Doctors start resignation campaign

Mada Masr
Police arrest Alexandria workers as strikes continue nationwide

Tuesday March 25, 2014

Jano Charbel

 
Despite official attempts to bring an end to a wave of labor unrest that contributed to the downfall of Hazem al-Beblawi's government, a broad range of Egypt's labor workforce embarked on nationwide strikes on Tuesday.

Notable developments on Tuesday included the arrest of several striking postal workers in Alexandria, along with the beginning of a mass-resignation campaign by striking doctors. Doctors, dentists, pharmacists, postal workers, textile workers and custodial staff all staged walk-outs during the day.

Official attempts to quell the postal workers’ strike in Egypt’s second city led to the arrest of five independent union organizers. These arrests, however, served to widen the scope of the postal workers’ unrest Tuesday, the third day of their strike. 

More than 50,000 employees of the state-owned postal services have been on strike across the country since Sunday.

These arrests took place following legal charges filed to the office of the prosecutor general by the chief of the postal bureau in Alexandria. Seven other workers have also been issued arrest warrants.

The postal chief had claimed workers were attempting to obstruct public postal services, instigate work stoppages, and that workers were affiliated to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which the state classified as a terrorist organization in December.

A number of local media outlets, however, reported that families of the arrested strikers rejected claims that their goals are politicized or that they are affiliated to the Brotherhood. The family members also denounced the police raids and arrests of workers from their homes. 

A number of other media reports mentioned that the postal strike had a negative impact for both clients and customers, and was perceived as an unpopular action by workers.

Speaking at the Journalists Syndicate on Sunday, Zeinab Farag, a trade unionist and strike leader from the Giza Postal Bureau, commented that she and tens of thousands of her colleagues had embarked on strike action as they were excluded from receiving the newly imposed LE1,200 monthly minimum wage, were not paid overdue bonuses and, in some cases, actually received deductions to their salaries.

“There’s enough money and resources to provide for our demands, yet the postal authorities do not care about us, nor do they care about our livelihoods," Farag said.

Farag and her colleagues claim that 90 percent of postal workers are on strike.

Several medical physicians meanwhile submitted their resignations to the Ministry of Health on Tuesday. This campaign of mass resignations comes amid the 18 consecutive day of strike action.

These strikes include partial work stoppages which do not affect emergency rooms, intensive care wards, nurseries, dialysis, urgent surgeries or other pressing medical conditions. A string of partial strikes were launched at the beginning of this year.

Joining them in this strike action are the Dentists Syndicate and Pharmacists Syndicate. The joint strike committee for these medical professions claims that around 75 percent of constituents are maintaining partial strike action in public health facilities.

The Health Ministry, on the other hand, claims that only around 30 percent of these medical personnel are actually participating in strikes.

The mass resignation campaign meanwhile aims to escalate pressure on the health and finance ministries in order to realize strikers’ objectives: raising doctors’ starting salaries to at least the level of the minimum wage, implementing an incremental pay scale, increasing compensations for infectious illnesses, improving safety standards at public hospitals, and raising the allocation for healthcare in the national budget — from  under four percent to 15 percent.

Amr al-Shora, board member of the Doctors Syndicate commented, "Today was the first day of planning for this campaign of mass resignations.”  

He clarified that the resignations would be submitted to the Health Ministry once a certain number of signatories has been reached. The syndicate’s objective is the collection of 20,000 signatures of resignation prior to the submission.

Shora commented that he was the 11th syndicate board member to sign the roster of resignations, although “many others have also signed on to this list of collective resignations.

Some state-owned media outlets have suggested that strikes and resignations would not improve, but harm, the country’s medical healthcare system.

"Public hospitals lack proper facilities, equipment and funding," Shora said in response. "This is what really harms Egypt’s patients. We are part of a medical system with sub-human standards. This is our way of challenging this broken system, and aspiring to improve it.”

The syndicate board member added that further escalatory actions will be proposed and discussed on Friday during the Doctors’ Syndicate General Assembly meeting.

Meanwhile in the Nile Delta city of Kafr al-Dawwar, over 2,000 textile workers from the state-owned Misr Spinning and Weaving Company went on strike for the second day, demanding the payment of the new minimum wage, overdue bonuses, increased investments in the public sector textile industry, as well as the re-operation of stalled production lines within their industrial complex.

Also in Beheira Governorate, several hundred custodial workers and street cleaners in Kafr al-Dawwar and Damanhour, continued with strike actions for the eight consecutive day.

They demanded contracts for fulltime work, along with the payment of the new minimum wage.


*Photo by Mai Shaheen

Jailed Al-Jazeera journalist loses full use of arm

The Guardian

Al-Jazeera journalist jailed in Egypt loses full use of arm

Mohamed Fahmy, one of four imprisoned journalists, reveals injury has worsened after being denied treatment since arrest
 


One of the four jailed al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt no longer has full use of his arm after being denied proper medical treatment in prison for a shoulder injury suffered before he entered custody.

In his first trip to a civilian hospital since his arrest in late December, the Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy showed friends and family on Saturday that he could not move his right arm more than a few centimetres.

Driven to hospital by an escort of balaclava-wearing police officers, Fahmy used his rare contact with the outside world to ask to be given more regular access to his lawyer, who he meets for only 45 minutes before a court appearance, and for the court's sessions to be held more regularly than once every three weeks.

An ex-CNN producer, Fahmy also requested to be allowed more than one hour each day outside his windowless cell, which he shares with fellow al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed.

They have been placed next door to two leading allies of the former president Mohamed Morsi – the head of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, and his one-time prime minister, Hisham Kandil.

The three journalists were arrested in their hotel rooms on 29 December and accused of spreading misinformation about Egypt and aiding terrorists – charges they describe as absurd. A fourth, Abdullah Elshamy, has been detained since August.

The Egyptian state claims that their coverage distorts Egypt's image in order to help Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which it has designated a terrorist group. But globally the cases are seen as an attack on free speech and have sparked widespread outcry.

In his appearance at hospital, Fahmy said Greste and Mohamed were in good spirits and were now allowed to read newspapers, which helped to alleviate the boredom of prison.

Fahmy appeared upbeat himself, joking with family members in between two scans on his injured arm, and saying the experience would be good material for a book.

"Let's go home," he quipped to a police officer as he left again for prison.

But his family stressed that Fahmy needed to return to hospital as soon as possible. "He should be released on bail to allow him to get proper treatment," said Adel Fahmy, the journalist's younger brother.

The three journalists are due back in court on Monday.


*Photo by Khaled Desouki courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

Egypt: Censors ban 20 music videos

Index on Censorship

Egypt: Secularists and conservatives battle over music videos

21 March, 2014

Shahira Amin

In a move that has sparked concern among Egyptian secularists, the country’s censorship committee this week banned 20 music videos allegedly containing “heavy sexual connotations” and featuring “scantily-dressed female singers and models.”

The decision to ban the video clips deemed “inappropriate” and “indecent” by members of the state censorship committee, comes two months after a new constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression and opinion was approved by 98 per cent of voters in a national referendum. The new charter replaced the 2012 constitution, widely criticized by rights organizations and revolutionary activists as an “Islamist-tinged” document.

The majority of Egypt’s secularists who celebrated the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in Tahrir Square in July had feared that the Muslim Brotherhood –the Islamist group from which he hails –was seeking to alter Egypt’s ‘moderate’ identity. The Islamist group has since been outlawed and designated a terrorist organization by the military-backed authorities that replaced the toppled president.

The banning of the video clips comes amid heated debate on “raunchy” music videos broadcast on some of the Arab satellite channels. In recent years, an increasing number of popular Arab female singing-stars have challenged social norms and broken cultural taboos by revealing more flesh in their video clips. The trend has stirred controversy in Egypt’s deeply conservative Muslim society with many Egyptians rejecting what they describe as “the pornification of pop music”.  They insist that the “graphic, semi-porn sexual scenes featured in some of the music videos are not in line with Islamic tradition and culture”.

“Some of these video clips are more porn than music. We can hardly understand the lyrics; They are an insult to Arabic music and culture,” said Amina Mansour , a Western educated 30 year- old Egyptian freelance photographer.

It is no surprise that some liberal, westernised Egyptians agree with ultra-conservative Muslims in their society that the videos should be banned. Egyptian society–once a melting pot of different cultures has grown more conservative in the last 30 years.

In his book Whatever Happened to the Egyptians, Economist Galal Amin blames the growing conservatism in the country on the introduction of Wahhabism –a more rigid form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia and adopted by the millions of Egyptian migrants who travelled to Gulf countries after the oil boom in the seventies, seeking higher-paid jobs.

The gradual transformation from a diverse, open and tolerant society into today’s conservative and far less tolerant Egypt is evident in the style of dress, behaviour and speech of many Egyptians. An estimated 90 per cent of women wear the hijab-the head covering worn by Muslim women -while the niqab, a veil covering the face , has become more prevalent in recent years.

Some analysts believe the trend of conservatism, which had steadily grown in Egypt recent decades, now appears to be regressing. A growing number of women and girls are removing their Islamic headscarf —once adopted as a political statement against the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak and against Western-style values imposed on the society.

Leila el Shentenawy, a 31 year old lawyer told Index she removed her veil after Morsi’s ouster to express her disappointment with Islamist rule.

“Morsi failed to deliver on promised reforms,” she said, adding that she and other liberal Egyptians were alarmed by the calls made by some hardline Islamists to bring back female genital mutilation and lower the age of marriage for girls.

“We were becoming a backward society instead of moving forward,” she said.
Shentenawi however, supports the ban on the video clips, arguing that  such videos are “commercialization of women’s bodies and a downright insult to women.”

Other Egyptians have meanwhile expressed disappointment over the banning of the video clips, perceiving the move as “a reversal of the democratic gains of the January 25, 2011 Revolution” that toppled autocratic president Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent uprising against Islamist rule in June 2013.

“We had two uprisings for freedom and a modern, democratic society,” lamented 26 year-old graphic designer Amr El Sherif. “The video clips are popular with young Egyptians and the latest ban can only be considered as a means of stifling free artistic expression.”

In January, Egyptian TV imposed a ban on several video clips reportedly containing “seductive scenes”, deciding they were”inappropriate for viewers”. The ban on the music videos featuring Middle Eastern pop idols Haifa Wahby, Alissa, Nancy Agram and Ruby among others, came in response to complaints by some viewers that the “hot scenes” depicted in the videos were “provocative” and “went against the morals of Muslim society.”

While modest by Western standards, “the gyrations and revealing costumes featured in the videos were too sexy for Arab audiences”, the censors decided. The ban is a continuation of the ultra-conservative trend started by Islamists during their one year rule when some of their lawmakers had complained to Parliament (then dominated by Islamists) that “Egyptian performer Ruby’s pelvic thrust dance moves and bare midriff were too much,” warning that the “obscene scenes” depicted in the music videos would “trash the taste of Egyptians.”

The ban of the videos meanwhile, coincided with the sexual assault of a female student by a mob on Cairo University’s main campus on Monday–the first violence of its kind on an Egyptian university campus.

While condemning the assault incident in a telephone interview broadcast on the private ONTV channel later that evening, University President Gaber Nassar implied the victim was to blame, saying her “immodest attire” had invited the assault. He urged students to dress modestly, adding that those who do not follow the university’s regulation would be barred from entering the university campus by security guards.

Some Egyptians believe that the “suggestive” and “explicit” music videos are partly to blame for a surge in incidents of sexual harassment and violence against women in the country since the January 2011 uprising.

“Sexual frustrations of youth –many of whom are unemployed and unable to afford the cost of marriage– are being fuelled in part by sexy music videos and other pornograhic material on the internet, causing unruly behaviour by some youth,” Said Sadek, a Cairo-based Political Sociologist and activist, told Index.

The recent ban on the video clips also comes hot on the heels of an International Women’s Day protest-rally staged by nude Arab and Iranian women in the Louvre Art Museum’s Square in Paris, calling for “equal rights” and “secularism” in their respective countries.

Egyptian internet activist Alia Al Mahdi was among the participants in the Paris nudist rally which organizers said, was held to “highlight the many legal and cultural restrictions imposed on women in the Arab World”. El Mahdi had also protested naked outside the Egyptian Embassy in the Swedish capital Stockholm in December 2012 to express her opposition to what she called Morsi’s “Sharia Constitution.” Raising the Egyptian flag, she had the words ” No to Sharia” written in bold print on her naked body.

Many of the revolutionary youth-activists who led the uprisings in Tahrir Square in January 2011 and June 2013 had hoped the downfall of two authoritarian regimes would usher in a new era of greater freedoms including freedom of expression and opinion.But their hopes are fading fast amid increased restrictions and a climate of growing repression.

Despite the challenges, they vow to continue to push for “reforms” and “a more liberal Egypt”. While many of the revolutionaries say they oppose Alia Al Mahdi’s method of protest, perceiving it as ” extreme”, they insist ” there is no going back to repression and censorship by the authorities.”

“We’ve had our first taste of freedom with the revolution three years ago and once you’ve had that, you can only move forward and never look back, ” said Mohamed Fawaz, an activist and member of the April 6 Movement, one of the two main groups that mobilized protesters for the January 11 mass uprising. Meanwhile, the battle between secularists and conservatives for the soul of the “new Egypt” continues.

Female victim blamed for mob sex assault in Cairo University

Mada Masr 
Victim blamed after sexual assault at Cairo University

March 18, 2014


A case of mass sexual assault on a female student at Cairo University on Monday has led to a storm of accusations on TV channels and social networking sites.

This alarming incident has also raised questions and concerns regarding Egyptian society’s toleration of sexual harassment and its apparent acceptance of physical assaults on women nationwide.

On Tuesday, women’s rights activists and anti-harassment volunteer groups began preparations for a protest outside Cairo University on Thursday, while the (state-controlled) National Council for Women called on the government to enforce stricter legislation criminalizing sexual harassment and assault. 

A female law student was mobbed by a group of male students, groped and sexually assaulted, shortly after she entered the campus on Monday. The victim sought to escape from her attackers by hiding in the women’s bathroom, yet even then a gang of students surrounded her inside, awaiting her exit.

It was only after she was trapped inside the bathroom, apparently crying and in a state of great distress, that university security guards moved to disperse the assailants from around the bathroom and escorted the girl off campus.

Gaber Nassar, president of Cairo University, spoke with privately owned ONtv satellite channel on Monday, and claimed that such an incident of sexual “harassment” at the University is atypical and “exceptional.” He added that Cairo University is a respectable institution that upholds a respectable dress code.

Nassar contradicted himself, saying, “there is no justification for harassment,” yet he went on to imply that the student had brought this assault upon herself as a result of the tight clothing she was wearing.

He added that the student in question was wearing a black robe covering her body, but took it off after entering the campus. Amateur video footage shows the victim dressed in a long-sleeved pink sweater and black pants.

The incident was captured on camera and Nassar claimed the male students involved would be investigated. However, it isn't clear what legal measures have actually been taken, as he added that lawyers were scrutinizing video footage to ascertain if a crime had taken place. Originally, the University denied the incident had occurred.

On Tuesday, TV presenter Tamer Amin went even further in his justification of the assault. His program “Min al-Akher” on the Rotana Egypt satellite channel came under fire following comments he made.

The renowned TV presenter criticized Cairo University’s statement regarding “the personal freedom of attire.”

Amin said, “Clothing is not a personal freedom unless it is worn at home or in private; not in places like public universities or schools. An employee cannot go to work dressed in their shorts, for example.”

The TV presenter went on to blame the victim even further by claiming that the female student in question was “dressed like a belly dancer.” Amin asked, “How was it that university guards allowed her to enter campus in such garb, which exposed more than it covered?”

Amin further justified the mob’s sexual assault by claiming that the “student was dressed like a slut,” and thus it was her attire which aroused, encouraged and instigated the assault against her.

On social networking site, Twitter, user Mohamed al-Khateeb wrote that harassment is not only a crime that happens in dark alleyways at night, it also happens on university campuses during the daytime.

A host of female Twitter users denounced Amin as “an animal,” while many others called on the Rotana Channel to sack him from his job for his sexist comments condoning harassment and assaults against women.

Many other Twitter users commented that harassment is rampant in Egypt because of unemployment, lack of affordable apartments and the general inability to afford marriage expenses.

Other users pointed out that sexual harassment and assaults are perpetrated by prepubescent boys and married men even though they do not suffer from the aforementioned problems.

Sexual harassment and assaults continue to plague Egypt’s streets on a daily basis — and, as mentioned on social networking sites — do not appear to be based solely on womens’ attire. Women wearing the head veil (hijab) or full face-veil (niqab) are often subjected to the same mistreatment and assaults as those who don’t.

According to a 2013 report by UN Women, 99.3 percent of women have said they have experienced sexual harassment or assault at some point in their lives.