House of Representative – File Photo House of Representative – File Photo

Parliament is drafting new bill to prevent violence against women

Thu, Nov. 9, 2017
CAIRO – 9 November 2017: The parliament is working on a new bill to prevent violence against women, Second Deputy Chairman of Human Rights Committee Margaret Azer stated on Thursday.

Azer said that all Egyptian women appreciated President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s efforts and understood the message sent by Sisi to empower them and give them the opportunity to make up for the years she spent under the ruling of extremists.

Azer asserted that there is no difference between men and women rights in the law, assuring that if women have access to education and rehabilitation, they would contribute well in the country’s development.

MP Amna Nosseir who is a professor of comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University said that all the Egyptian country institutions are working to empower women in society, referring to the state's efforts to amend and remove all obstacles that hinder women and prevent them from participating in politics.

Nosseir pointed out that the most dangerous obstacles facing women’s employment and hampering state plans in empowering women are the social custom and traditions that prevent women from collecting their inheritances and encourage child marriages.

On the World Youth Forum’s fourth day, women enhancement in decision-making processes was highlighted in a session called “Women’s Role in Decision-Making Circles.”

Sisi affirmed that men have to be engaged in the process of empowering women at every turn in life, crediting the Egyptian woman’s role in building up generations.

He further said that political keenness to empower women will not be effective unless the warped social culture towards women is changed.

“During the June 30 revolution, Egyptian women were most aware of the dangers facing them and the future of their children,” President Sisi explained.

"Do you want to have a female prime minister?" President Sisi sarcastically replied to the session moderator and TV anchor Iman al-Hossary's question on how to further empower women in decision-making circles.

“Unfairness is what forms most of Arab women’s problems, and I speak particularly about the Egyptian woman,” President Sisi said on Wednesday.

A bill which is discussed by the Parliament in the coming days 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 ruling.

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 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 the surge in rape crimes that is prevailing in 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 sexual nature, would face 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.

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 a 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 – another first in the country’s penal code.

The husband would face 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.
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