Correction appended 9:25am ET
A court in Egypt has sentenced seven men to life in prison for committing sexual assaults during protests in Tahrir Square, the Associated Press reports.
Three of the men received multiple life sentences for taking part in different assaults. These are the first heavy sentences against sexual abusers since Egypt’s new president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, vowed to toughen penalties in June.
The sentences stem from four separate incidents of sexual assault, including one that occurred during celebrations for Sisi’s inauguration.
This last assault may refer to an incident during the June 8 celebrations, when a video emerged showing a young woman being stripped naked and beaten by a crowd in Tahrir Square.
The timing of the brutal attack was particularly embarrassing given Sisi’s election promise to end the frequent assaults occurring in Tahrir Square.
The president vowed during his campaign to “restore the sense of shame” to sexual abusers. Before Sisi’s inauguration, the interim president Adly Mansour said physical and verbal sexual harassment was punishable by six-month to five-year prison sentences.
Egypt’s long-standing problems with sexual assault came into focus following the 2011 uprisings which ousted former president Hosni Mubarak. Though women protested shoulder to shoulder with men they were persistently subjected to sexual assaults during the mass protests in Tahrir Square. CBS News journalist Lara Logan was among the victims of assault in 2011.
The original version of this story, based on an Associated Press report, misstated the number of men sentenced. It was 7.
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