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Egypt imposes harsh new penalties on verbal sexual harassment

The amendment of the Penal Code, which Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a few months ago, came to increase the penalty for the crime of sexual harassment, to ensure public and private deterrence.

The amendments introduced by the committee included two articles, namely “306 bis A” and “306 bis B” in the current Penal Code.

Article 306 bis A, after its amendment, stipulates that:

“A penalty of detention for a period not less than two years and not exceeding four years and a fine of not less than LE 100,000 and not exceeding LE 200,000 or either penalties shall be inflicted on whoever molests others in a manner offending modesty by words or deed or any other means including telecommunication, wireless, electronic, or other technical means, on a public road, public, private or frequented place.

“If the felony recurs once again to committing a crime of the type prescribed in the previous clause, during stalking and tracking by the offender to the victim, the penalty shall be detention for not less than three years, and not exceeding five years, and a fine of not less than LE 200,000 and not exceeding LE 300,000 or either penalty. In case the felony committed again the minimum and maximum penalties of imprisonment and fine are doubled.”

Article 306 bis B, after its amendment, stipulates that:

“It is considered sexual harassment if the crime stipulated in Article 306 bis (A) of this law is committed with the intent of the offender to obtain a benefit of a sexual nature from the victim, and the offender shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than five years and a fine of no less than LE 200,000 and not more than LE 300,000 or one of these two penalties.

“If the offender was one of those mentioned in the second paragraph of Article (267) of this law, or had an occupational, family, or educational authority over the victim, or exercised any pressure on the victim that circumstances allowed him to exercise it against him, or the crime was committed by two or more persons, or at least one of them was carrying a weapon, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a period of no less than seven years and a fine of no less than LE 300,000 and not more than LE 500,000.”

Article 267 of the Penal Code stipulates that:

“Whoever has intercourse with a female without her consent shall be punished with execution, or lifetime imprisonment.”

The perpetrator shall be punished with execution if the victim has not attained the full age of 18-years-old, or if the perpetrator is one of the victim’s family, or one of those responsible for her upbringing or observation, or those who have authority over her, or if he was a paid servant with her or with those mentioned above, or there are multiple perpetrators of the crime.

The crime of sexual harassment is an infringement and violation of the freedom of every person. It is a form of violence that many Egyptian women suffer from and has become a serious social problem.

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