- North Africa
- Justice - Sexuality - Women
Egypt sends first man sent to jail for sexual assault but ...
victim under fire for being "Israeli"
Noha Rushdi has won a monumental court case that saw an Egyptian court send a man to prison for the first time for sexual assault.
About a week since the verdict, which activists called a "watershed victory", Rushdi is making headlines again, with two lawyers calling for her deportation, accusing her of being an Israeli and lying about the charges.
Youm Saba’a reported on Thursday that Nabih Al Wahash, a lawyer, has filed a petition to the general prosecutor to halt the imprisonment of Sherif Goma’a, who was convicted of assaulting Rushdi and sentenced to three years in prison, until his appeal is heard.
Nagla Al Imam, a lawyer who initially voiced support for Rushdi, has also taken to the airwaves, claiming the young woman lied about her charges and argued that she is an Israeli and should be deported for "unsettling Egyptian sentiments".
Egyptians are up in arms over the claims, saying that it goes against all that was fought and won by the 27-year-old filmmaker.
Despite the verdict that saw Goma’a sent to jail, Egyptian newspapers have been in frenzy over how to report the situation.
Local Arabic dailies have reported without much background of the complaints of the two lawyers, giving some semblance of credence to their justification for attacking Rushdi’s identity.
"This is a big deal and people need to understand how harmful it can be on the country," said Engy Ghozlan of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR).
The Daily News Egypt ran a series of articles this week on the case, including a piece that featured the young woman as a "hero to Egypt" for taking the man to court.
The reporter, who interviewed Rushdi, argued that "she is the most famous woman in Egypt right now," but that hasn’t stopped the criticisms.
Whether Imam and Wahash will have their say in court is yet to be determined, but either way, Egyptian press is watching the story closely, waiting for a final outcome.
"These accusations really hurt what is going on because we want more women to come forward and tell their stories and press charges.
Noha gave them the ability to do that and now the government and people are giving them a reason to stay silent," said Amal Abdel Hadi, a lawyer with the New Women’s Foundation. Panapress.