Egypt upholds ruling against murderers of teen who defended sexual harassment victim

An Egyptian court has upheld the ruling against three young men who were convicted last year of murdering their neighbour.

In October 2019 teenager Mahmoud Al-Banna intervened after the three men were sexually harassing and beating a high school student in the street in Tala city, Monoufiya.

He later posted on Facebook: “It’s not manly to beat a girl in the street.”

Investigations found that Al-Rabie sent Al-Banna threatening messages demanding he stop talking about what had happened.

In retaliation the three young men ambushed Al-Banna, sprayed pepper spray in his eyes and stabbed him three times in the face and the thigh.

The ringleader was Mohamed Al-Rabie who was aided by his two friends Eslam Awad and Mostafa Mohamed.

Al-Banna died in hospital and became known as “the martyr of chivalry”. His death generated a wave of sympathy and demands for the government to tackle sexual harassment, which is widespread in Egypt.

For his funeral, thousands walked through the streets.

The defendants were arrested and charged with premeditated murder, and another defendant who helped them flee the crime received five years in prison.

In Egypt, victims are often punished for speaking out about sexual harassment whilst perpetrators walk free. After the murder, security forces announced that El-Banna was killed following an argument with some friends in a café, but CCTV videos that were leaked showed El-Banna being chased through the streets by the three defendants.

At the time, Egypt’s Interior Ministry arrested 22 people for allegedly inciting against others after they protested in front of the court room in Shebin El-Koum where the defendants were being tried.

The government labelled the protesters as terrorists who belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood and accused them of using the murder to incite against the state.

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