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CAIRO – 27 October 2017: A bill to stop violence against women, particularly sexual crimes, is set to come before Parliament in the coming days.
The bill, prepared by the Human Rights Committee in the Parliament, will impose the death penalty against rapists – a first in Egypt.
According to the bill, if the rape victim is under 18 or has a mental or psychological disorder, the rapist will be sentenced to death. However, if the rape victim is over 18, the rapist will be sentenced to death or life in prison, depending on the court's judgment.
Egypt’s current penal code does not allow for the execution of rapists. Instead, the code stipulates the maximum penalty of 25 years in prison for rapists who have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have committed the crime.
According to current penal code a rapist will face the death penalty only if rape is followed by murder. If the rapist is a minor, the maximum punishment they face is 15 years in prison.
The new bill, however, aims to make rape a legally unforgivable crime, hoping to put a stop to a surge in rapes throughout the country.
The bill also suggests harsh punishments for harassers. Harassers who attack women in private or public spaces by stalking or via requests for sexual favors, as well as other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, would face imprisonment for a period no less than one year and/or fine of no less than LE 10,000 and no more than LE 20,000.
Under the bill, the penalty shall be life imprisonment if multiple perpetrators harass a woman or use harassment as a tool of intimidation.
The new bill also states that if the harassment victim is less than 10 years old, the harasser will be sentenced to life in prison.
This new bill imposes the first penalty on a husband who publishes nude photos or videos of his wife via social media websites, or threatens to publish them during or after their marriage.
The husband would face the imprisonment for a period no less than one year and/or a fine of no less than LE 10,000 and no more than LE 20,000.