Egypt releases jailed anti-harassment activist

Egyptian authorities on Thursday released a rights activist jailed over a video she posted online criticising sexual harassment in the country, her husband said.

Amal Fathi, 34, was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence in September on charges of spreading fake news after accusing the authorities of failing to protect women in a Facebook video.

She was, however, kept in detention awaiting trial in another case in which she is accused of a second charge of “spreading false news” and “membership of a terrorist group”.

Her release on Thursday came after an Egyptian court last week ordered her to be freed.

“She came out today,” husband Mohamed Lotfy, a well-known rights activist, told AFP.

Her conditional release means she must report to the police regularly.

Fathi was first arrested in May over footage in which she also alleged that guards at a bank had sexually harassed her.

She is appealing her two-year suspended sentence and faces a decision in that case on December 30.

Some 60 percent of women in Egypt say they have been victims of some form of sexual harassment during their life, according to a 2017 report by UN Women and Promundo, an organisation that engages men and boys in tackling gender violence.

Rights groups have repeatedly accused the Egyptian authorities of using anti-terror legislation to crush a range of dissenting voices.


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