Over 100 university students accuse Egyptian man of rape

Over 100 university students accuse Egyptian man of rape
In this Aug. 20, 2012 file photo, an Egyptian youth, trailed by his friends, gropes a woman crossing the street with her friends in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
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Updated 03 July 2020

Over 100 university students accuse Egyptian man of rape

Over 100 university students accuse Egyptian man of rape
  • MP asks attorney general to monitor case amid online uproar

CAIRO: A 22-year-old Egyptian man has been accused via social media of sexually assaulting and harassing more than 100 females over the course of several years. Egyptian authorities are being asked to open an investigation into the allegations.

The accusations originated from a group of around 100 female students at the American University in Cairo (AUC), who used their Twitter accounts to accuse the man — who was previously a student at the university — of sexual harassment and abuse as well as blackmail.

AUC said the man, whom Arab News has chosen not to name, left the university in 2018 and stressed that it is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all members of the university’s community and does not tolerate sexual harassment.

One woman claimed that the man had molested her and her sister when they were between the ages of 13 and 14, and threatened to publish fabricated images of them if they did not do as he asked.

Another student said the man had harassed, chased and threatened her and that he said he would tell her family that she had slept with him — she denies having done so. She wrote that he wanted to blackmail her into submitting to his demands.

One woman claimed the man has a history of predatory sexual behavior dating back to when he was a child, and said he had repeatedly moved schools because of complaints about his harassment of female students. The same person claimed the man’s father used his social influence to ensure his son was able to transfer between schools both in Egypt and overseas so he could complete his education.

She said that when the man arrived at AUC he continued to harass and assault women. After befriending them, she claimed, he would assault them at his family’s villa. He allegedly photographed some of these assaults and would use the pictures to blackmail the women into submitting to further abuse.

Earlier this week a group of women created an Instagram account called assaultpolice, through which they have so far collected 150 accusations against the man and testimonies from victims of his alleged assaults. They have also collected texts and voice messages that the man allegedly sent to some of his victims.

As social media users called for the man to be arrested, it emerged that rumors of a rapist at AUC had surfaced among the university’s internal social media groups. At the time, some claimed that the man concerned was undergoing treatment for mental illness and that such claims could push him to commit suicide.

After those claims surfaced, the man apparently transferred to university in Barcelona. Some have said that the man’s father threatened the women making the accusations, but that they contacted his new university and sent screenshots of the threats they had received, leading to his suspension from that university.

On Friday, accusations that the same student had also raped a young man emerged.

According to some Egyptian media outlets, the security services have opened an investigation into the case.

MP Mohamed Fouad has submitted a request to the attorney general asking him to follow up on the case, and has also asked the public prosecution to look into the accusations.

Fouad also asked the National Council for Women (NCW) to look into the story and to provide psychological and legal support to the victims of the man’s alleged harassment, extortion and rape.

The NCW, headed by Maya Morsy, issued a statement saying that it would follow up on the issue and calling on the concerned authorities to investigate the matter and take the necessary measures.

The council also called on all women who fell victim to the harasser to file an official charge against the man “so that he receives the punishment that he deserves according to the law.”

“It will serve as an example,” the NCW said.


Top Lebanese hospitals fight exhausting battle against virus

Top Lebanese hospitals fight exhausting battle against virus
Updated 52 min 55 sec ago

Top Lebanese hospitals fight exhausting battle against virus

Top Lebanese hospitals fight exhausting battle against virus
  • In recent weeks, Lebanon has seen a dramatic increase in virus cases, following the holiday season

BEIRUT: Death stalks the corridors of Beirut’s Rafik Hariri University Hospital, where losing multiple patients in one day to COVID-19 has become the new normal. On Friday, the mood among the staff was even more solemn as a young woman lost the battle with the virus.
There was silence as the woman, barely in her 30s, drew her last breath. Then a brief commotion. The nurses frantically tried to resuscitate her. Finally, exhausted, they silently removed the oxygen mask and the tubes — and covered the body with a brown blanket.
The woman, whose name is being withheld for privacy reasons, is one of 57 victims who died on Friday and more than 2,150 lost to the virus so far in Lebanon, a small country with a population of nearly 6 million that since last year has grappled with the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history.
In recent weeks, Lebanon has seen a dramatic increase in virus cases, following the holiday season when restrictions were eased and thousand of expatriates flew home for a visit.
Now, hospitals across the country are almost completely out of beds. Oxygen tanks, ventilators and most critically, medical staff, are in extremely short supply. Doctors and nurses say they are exhausted. Facing burnout, many of their colleagues left.
Many others have caught the virus, forcing them to take sick leave and leaving fewer and fewer colleagues to work overtime to carry the burden.
To every bed that frees up after a death, three or four patients are waiting in the emergency room waiting to take their place.
Mohammed Darwish, a nurse at the hospital, said he has been working six days a week to help with surging hospitalizations and barely sees his family.
“It is tiring. It is a health sector that is not good at all nowadays,” Darwish said.
More than 2,300 Lebanese health care workers have been infected since February, and around 500 of Lebanon’s 14,000 doctors have left the crisis-ridden country in recent months, according to the Order of Physicians. The virus is putting an additional burden on a public health system that was already on the brink because of the country’s currency crash and inflation, as well as the consequences of the massive Beirut port explosion last summer that killed almost 200 people, injured thousands, and devastated entire sectors of the city.
“Our sense is that the country is falling apart,” World Bank Regional Director, Saroj Kumar Jha, told reporters in a virtual news conference Friday.
At the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, the main government coronavirus facility, there are currently 40 beds in the ICU — all full. According to the World Health Organization, Beirut hospitals are at 98% capacity.
Across town, at the private American University Medical Center — one of Lebanon’s largest and most prestigious hospitals — space is being cleared to accommodate more patients.
But that’s not enough, according to Dr. Pierre Boukhalil, head of the Pulmonary and Critical Care department. His staff were clearly overwhelmed during a recent visit by The Associated Press, leaping from one patient to another amid the constant beep-beep of life-monitoring machines.
The situation “can only be described as a near disaster or a tsunami in the making,” he said, speaking to the AP in between checking on his patients. “We have been consistently increasing capacity over the past week or so, and we are not even keeping up with demands. This is not letting up.”
Boukhalil’s hospital raised the alarm last week, coming out with a statement saying its health care workers were overwhelmed and unable to find beds for “even the most critical patients.”
Since the start of the holiday season, daily infections have hovered around 5,000 in Lebanon, up from nearly 1,000 in November. The daily death toll hit record-breaking more than 60 fatalities in in the past few days.
Doctors say that with increased testing, the number of cases has also increased — a common trend. Lebanon’s vaccination program is set to begin next month.
The World Bank said Thursday it approved $34 million to help pay for vaccines for Lebanon that will inoculate over 2 million people.
Jha, the World Bank’s regional director, said Lebanon will import 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccines for 750,000 people that “we are financing in full.” He added that the World Bank also plans to help finance vaccines other than Pfizer in the Mediterranean nation.
Darwish, the nurse, said many COVID-19 patients admitted to Rafik Hariri and especially in the ICU, are young, with no underlying conditions or chronic diseases.
“They catch corona and they think everything is fine and then suddenly you find the patient deteriorated and it hits them suddenly and unfortunately they die,”
On Thursday night, 65-year-old Sabah Miree was admitted to the hospital with breathing problems. She was put on oxygen to help her breathe. Her two sisters had also caught the virus but their case was mild. Miree, who suffers from a heart problem, had to be hospitalized.
“This disease is not a game,” she said, describing what a struggle it is for her to keep breathing. “I would say to everyone to pay attention and not to take this lightly.”
A nationwide round-the-clock curfew imposed on Jan. 14 was extended on Thursday until Feb. 8 to help the health sector deal with the virus surge.
“I still have nightmares when I see a 30-year-old who passed away,” said Dr. Boukhalil. “The disease could have been prevented.”
“So stick with the lockdown ... it pays off,” he said.