Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Egypt has asked YouTube to remove a video showing a naked
woman with injuries being dragged through Cairo's Tahrir Square
after being sexually assaulted during celebrations for
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's inauguration.
Sunday night's assault took place as thousands of people
enjoyed inauguration festivities, raising new worries about
Egypt's commitment to fighting sexual violence.
Authorities arrested seven men aged between 15 and 49 for
sexually harassing women on Tahrir Square after the posting
of the video, which caused an uproar in local and
It was not clear whether the men arrested took part in the
assault shown on the video.
"The Egyptian embassy in Washington DC and a number of
Egyptian authorities, at the direction of President Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi, have requested the YouTube administration to
remove the video of the sexual assault victim," Sisi's
"This came in response to her wish, which she expressed
during the president's visit to her yesterday at the hospital
to check on her condition," he added in an emailed statement
late on Thursday.
YouTube was not immediately available for comment on the
Egyptian request. The clip showing the assault was still
available on the video-sharing website on Friday.
Egypt approved a new law this month which punishes sexual
harassment with at least six months in jail or fines of at
least 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($420). The United States has
urged Egypt to make good on its promises to fight sexual
Sexual assault was rife at demonstrations during and after
the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak
and has been common for a decade at large gatherings in
Sisi, Egypt's former army chief who won a landslide poll
victory last month after deposing elected Islamist president
Mohamed Mursi last July, has frequently spoken highly of
women and their importance to society.
A police officer who rescued the victim of sexual harassment
should be honoured, Sisi said, in an apparent reference to
the woman in the video.
But some liberals have been wary of Sisi, especially after
remarks he made defending an army practice - later denied by
an army court - of conducting "virginity tests" on female
protesters who complained of abuse.
Sexual harassment, high rates of female genital mutilation
and a surge in violence after the Arab Spring uprisings have
made Egypt the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman,
a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey showed late last year.