Egypt court acquits sex offender in one case of assault and 'misusing social media'

The 24-year-old is serving a seven-year sentence for sexual charges in a separate case

Women chant slogans as they gather to protest against sexual harassment in front of the opera house in Cairo. REUTERS
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ِA Cairo appeals court on Monday acquitted Ahmed Bassam Zaki of sexually assaulting three girls and “misusing” social media.

Zaki, 24, is still serving an eight-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of the same charges in a separate case involving three other women, according to a statement from his lawyer.

Zaki was arrested in 2020 after dozens of women accused him of sexual assault and misconduct on social media, bringing the issue of harassment to the foreground of the national conversation and breathing new life into Egypt’s MeToo movement.

Though he had allegedly harassed dozens of women, according to their testimonies, prosecution investigations upon which he was tried were only able to incriminate him for assaulting the six women.

He was sentenced in December 2020 to three years in prison in a case pertaining to three of the victims, of which he was acquited on Monday, and then in April last year, he was sentenced to eight more years in a separate case concerning the three other victims.

Investigations determined that Zaki used various social media platforms to continually harass the six women, often sending them verbally abusive messages, many of which were later shared on social media.

A video of the verdict in his second trial showed the judge concluding that Zaki’s use of social media was “perverse and directly counter to the customs and traditions of Egyptian society”.

A cassation court in Cairo is expected to review Zaki’s request to overturn his seven-year sentence in the coming weeks, his lawyer confirmed.

Updated: September 12, 2022, 6:45 PM
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