"Sexual attacks have been rampant in large crowds in Egypt, most frequently during protests or demonstrations in Tahrir Square."
Cairo, July 16 - An Egyptian court Wednesday sentenced five men to life in prison for sexually harassing and attacking women during President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's inauguration celebrations at Tahrir Square here.
The attacks date to June 8 when thousands of Egyptians flocked to Tahrir Square, the epicentre for toppling long-ruling president Honsi Mubarak in 2011, to celebrate Sisi's rise to power.
The accused were charged with terrorising women by using violence and knives to attack the victims besides sexually harassing and attempting to rape them, the presiding judge said, according to Xinhua which cited official news agency MENA.
Following the inauguration ceremony, a graphic video, posted on Youtube and shared widely on social networking sites, showed a badly-injured woman stripped of her clothing being dragged through a large crowd to an ambulance. The footage triggered outrage in Egypt and abroad.
Soon after, Sisi made a highly-publicised visit to one of the victims and expressed his apologies.
He ordered his interior minister to take all necessary measures to combat sexual harassment, describing sexual harassment as a phenomenon alien to Egypt.
Four other persons, in a separate case Wednesday, got up to 20 years in prison in a similar case over harassing and using violence against women during the Jan 25 celebrations, which marked the anniversary of Mubarak's ouster.
Sexual attacks have been rampant in large crowds in Egypt, most frequently during protests or demonstrations in Tahrir Square.
Women's rights groups have estimated that more than 250 cases of mass sexual rape and mass sexual assaults occurred from November 2012 to January 2014.