Tue, 11 May 2021 - 10:51 GMT
CAIRO – 11 May 2021: Egypt’s Attorney General Hamada el-Sawy issued a ‘temporary order’, Tuesday to close “Fairmont gangrape case” saying that the lawsuit cannot be filed due to lack of evidence. All defendants held in pretrial detention were released.
The case that dates back to 2014 and stirred much controversy on social media; includes a gang of men who raped a female in Fairmont hotel, videotaped the whole indecent incident and signed their names on the victim’s body. After nearly six years of the incident, the girl came forward to the National Council for Women, which then filed a case on her behalf.
The Prosecution's investigations into the incident lasted nearly for nine months, according to the Attorney General statement.
It was added that during the investigations, all efforts were exerted seeking to reach the truth behind this crime. However, all evidence were found concluded that the defendants, the victim, were caught without her consent in a hotel suite while she was unconscious after a private party, in 2014
But the evidences gathered were not enough to accuse the involved men and bring them to criminal trial, the statement explained.
The Attorney general said that the investigation had gone through two stages; the first, was related to monitoring the controversy and testimonials circulated on social media, July 2020 on the incident.
The opinions and testimonials by that time differed between denouncing the accused or claiming that the accident was ‘completely incorrect’.
The prosecution listened to the victim and one eyewitness who presented with the girl in the hotel room where the whole incident took place. Other 39 witnesses were questioned as well, but all of them only saw parts of the victim’s rape videotape shortly after the incident in 2014.
Other witnesses were questioned by the prosecution, but they only heard about the incident without knowing details or watching the video. This is in addition to questioning the hotel officials, forensic doctors and police officers who conducted their investigations about the incident.
Photos of naked girl’s body were presented to the Public Prosecution, however the girl’s face neither appeared, nor identified.
The prosecution statement said that since the beginning of the investigations, all necessary measures were taken against the accused men, including banning from travel ordering their arrest, along with issuing international arrest warrants for the defendants who left the country after social media controversy. Three of the involved men were arrested in Lebanon and another once inside the country.
In February 2021, the prosecution launched an email specialized only for receiving evidences related to the case, and especially the ‘incident videotape’ which was suppose to include enough information accuse the detained men.
The prosecution received through the email several audio recordings of conversations attributed to some witnesses, whom were summoned for questioning.
The recordings and evidences referred to two people who received the videotape. The first person said that he received the video through the email, but he removed it immediately without watching it.
The Prosecution, however tried to reach out for the company that owns the email servers in an attempt to retrieve the video, but they replayed saying that it was not possible.
The second person who was said to own the video, was a foreign girl residing in an Arab country. Egypt’s Public Prosecution asked the Arab country authorities to question the girl, but she denied the possession of the video.
By the end of the investigations, a lot of differences in the evidences were found related to the incident date itself, which had a profound impact on the validity of the witnesses' statements, and thus the perpetrators and their roles in the incident.
This is in addition to the failure of reaching the footage of the incident.
Also, the photos presented to the prosecution, despite claiming that it is for the victim herself, but the girl’s identity could not be proved and none of the witnesses who saw the pictures affirmed her identity, including the only eyewitness of the whole case.
The statement concluded stating that reporting the incident after nearly six years made it difficult for the public prosecution to obtain needed evidence, along with that the only eyewitness denied seeing the whole incident.
It is also worthy to mention that the witnesses’ testimonies differed between that the victim was forcibly drugged, or took the drugs by herself, or if she was raped or had sexual intercourse with some of the defendants with her consent.
Also, according to the Prosecution statement, some witnesses changed their testimonials during the investigations along with that many of them said that heard the story and circulated it with out being able to determine the main source of the story in the first place.
The prosecution said that all mentioned details of the investigations made the evidences ‘on paper’ incomplete to lead to filling a lawsuit. However, this decision remains ‘temporary’ and a re-investigation could be done in case any new evidences were presented to the Prosecution.