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Egypt jails women’s rights activist for highlighting harassment

Prominent Egyptian women’s rights activist Amal Fathy has been sentenced to a year in prison for posting a video on Facebook in which she criticised authorities’ failure to protect women from sexual harassment.

Fathy was originally arrested in May 2018 after posting a video on Facebook in which she spoke about sexual harassment and criticised the Egyptian government for their inaction on the issue and for their wider crackdown on human rights. She was later sentenced to two years in prison, upheld on appeal. She was released on probation in December 2018 and the latest sentence was handed down on Tuesday.

“The court’s decision to confirm Amal Fathy’s conviction and sentence her to a one-year prison term yet again shows that the Egyptian authorities are keen on whitewashing rather than improving their appalling human rights record,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director, said condemning the ruling.

“Criticising the government’s failure to address sexual harassment is not a crime,” he added. “No-one should face punishment – let alone imprisonment – for exercising their right to freedom of expression to call for safer environments for women.”

“The Egyptian authorities must ensure that this cruel and unjust conviction is immediately quashed.”

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