Egyptian authorities arrest owner of Merit Publishing House Hashem over harassment accusations

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Sat, 11 Jul 2020 - 06:14 GMT

The owner of Merit Publishing House Mohamed Hashem - Facebook

The owner of Merit Publishing House Mohamed Hashem - Facebook

CAIRO – 11 July 2020: Mohamed Hashem, the owner of Merit Publishing House was arrested to be investigated over police reports filed against him, accusing him of harassing several girls. 
 
Over the past few days, a hashtag surfaced carrying Hashem’s name and describing him as harasser. Under the hashtag, social media users circulated posts and stories from ladies who were harassed by Hashem, and decided to expose him after a woman posted he harassed her in 2019.
 
The woman said that she was introduced to Hashem during a ceremony marking the publishing house’s establishment anniversary, and that when she visited the publishing house again to buy books, Hashem attacked her and harassed her against her will.
 
 
In her post, she wrote: 
 
“He welcomed me and offered me a drink. We talked while one of his daughters was sleeping in the same room, so he suggested to go to the other room so not to disturb her. I never thought he would do such thing…I thought it would be a small chat for five minutes, and I will leave after I get the books. Suddenly Mohamed Hashem attacked me and started to grab my body and kiss me against my will. I froze out of surprise, this was never expected to come, especially there are common friends between us, he is an old man, and I am younger than his daughter who is sleeping in the next room!! I tried to push him away from me, but he told me ‘wait’ and kept harassing me. My reaction was kind of slow out of surprise, but I managed to push him away and leave the place. This day was the worst day in my life.”
 
In her post, she said that she was told that Hashem is known for such harassing acts, and that she is not the first woman to experience that. She encouraged all women who were harassed by Hashem to expose him and tell their stories. 
 
In another post, a woman shared a message chat between her and another victim of Hashem, who said that she went to Merit Publishing House to publish her first book, and that Hashem invited her to see the house’s store. “He attacked me and tried to kiss me against my will… I felt disgusted and ran away. I never entered this place again.” 
 
This case came as multiple Egyptian girls and women filed official complaints against the same man, Ahmed Bassam Zaki. Within days, Zaki's case became a public opinion case, especially after an Instagram page that was set up to expose him identified 93 credible accusers, some as young as 13.
 
Egypt’s General Prosecutor officially ordered the detainment of accused rapist and serial sexual harasser Zaki.WhatsApp Image 2020-07-11 at 19.41.46
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-11 at 19.41.46WhatsApp Image 2020-07-11 at 19.41.47
WhatsApp Image 2020-07-11 at 19.41.47

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