Egypt Asks YouTube to Remove Tahrir Square Sex Assault Video

CAIRO - Egypt has asked YouTube to remove a video showing a naked woman with injuries being dragged through Cairo's Tahrir Square after being sexually assaulted during celebrations for President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration.

Sunday night's assault took place as thousands of people enjoyed inauguration festivities, raising new worries about Egypt's commitment to fighting sexual violence.

Authorities arrested seven men aged between 15 and 49 for sexually harassing women on Tahrir Square after the posting of the video, which caused an uproar in local and international media.

Image: Egyptians celebrate in Tahrir Square after Abdel Fattah el-Siss's swearing-in ceremony on Sunday
Egyptians celebrate in Cairo's Tahrir Square after Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's swearing-in ceremony on Sunday. MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY / Reuters

It was not clear whether the men arrested took part in the assault shown on the video.

"The Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C. and a number of Egyptian authorities, at the direction of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, have requested the YouTube administration to remove the video of the sexual assault victim," the president's spokesman said.

"This came in response to her wish, which she expressed during the president's visit to her yesterday at the hospital to check on her condition," he added in an emailed statement late on Thursday.

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YouTube was not immediately available for comment on the Egyptian request. The clip showing the assault was still available on the video-sharing website early Friday.

Sexual assault was rife at demonstrations during and after the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak and has been common for a decade at large gatherings in Egypt.

El-Sissi, Egypt's former army chief, won a landslide poll victory last month after deposing elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last July.

Sexual harassment, high rates of female genital mutilation and a surge in violence after the Arab Spring uprisings have made Egypt the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman, a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey showed late last year.

- Reuters