With no regrets.. How did Bassant continue to seek justice despite fear and threat?



Yesterday, the Al- Mansoura Economic Misdemeanours Court sentenced lawyer Hani Massad Al-Saeedi to two years in prison and a fine of 300,000 pounds, in addition to the imprisonment of lawyer Khaled El-Desouky for six months, and a fine of 15,000 pounds, and decided to guarantee five thousand pounds to stop the prison sentence for each of them, in the case of “defamation.”  Bassant, a victim of mass harassment in Mit Ghamr,” her lawyer, Aziza al-Taweel, told Mada Masr.


According to Al-Taweel, Al-Saeedi faced accusations, including “insulting and slandering the victim using social media, assaulting and violating the sanctity of the victim’s private life by publishing personal pictures of her, using electronic devices and social media”. While El-Desouki faced accusations of “insulting and slandering the victim by directing obscene things for her honour, her reputation, and her family’s public reputation.”


The two lawyers previously published defamation videos and personal photos of the victim at the aim of threatening her to change her statements against their seven clients, who were accused of sexually assaulting her, before the Al-Mansoura Criminal Court acquitted them last March of a “procedural error.”  While the prosecution appealed, last May, the verdict of acquittal of the seven defendants, the court has not yet set a session to consider the appeal, according to al-Taweel.


On December 17 , 2020 the Public Prosecution had said that it had received a complaint from a girl that she had been subjected to mass harassment on December 12, 2020. Moreover, the investigations, witnesses and surveillance videos indicated that a large number gathered around the victim, while seven of them pursued her on board a car and two motorbikes, and they touched her body and the areas of her chastity and assault.  Afterward, the victim recognised the seven accused whom the Public Prosecution ordered according to them.


While Aziza al-Taweel expected the two defendants to pay the bail to stop the execution of the imprisonment, and to appeal the ruling issued yesterday, she added to Mada Masr that the defence team will study the administrative and disciplinary measures that can be taken against them, after a final ruling is issued in the case.


For its turn, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the Foundation for Women’s Issues, which represent the victim, considered that ruling issued against lawyers yesterday is “ a clear message of the right of victims in sexual violence cases to be protected from defamation and threats at the hands of the accused, their lawyers, their families, or others.” In the aim of intimidating them from reporting and participating in the investigations, to ensure that the aggressors are prosecuted and reducing daily sexual violence in Egypt.