Cairo: A young Egyptian, accused of sexually assaulting and blackmailing dozens of women, has been ordered remanded pending further questioning in a case that has sent shockwaves across the nation.
Prosecutors said the accused was being kept in custody for four days to be renewed for a further 15 days upon an investigative judge’s decision.
The public prosecution said in a statement Tuesday that the defendant, identified as Ahmed Bassem Zaki, is charged with assaulting three girls, including a minor, by force and threatening others to circulate “dishonouring things” about them in order to compel them to comply with his demands.
He is also charged with inciting victims to debauchery, violating their private lives and infringing Egyptian society’s family values, according to the statement.
In investigations, the defendant admitted to having come to know six girls via a social networking website whom he alleged to have sent him "indecent" photos that he he threatened to show to their families when the girls wished to end their relations with him.
But the defendant denied the accusations raised against him on social media that he had, raped blackmailed and harassed dozens of Egyptian and foreign women.
Over recent days, scores of women have turned to social media, posting chilling testimonies claiming that Zaki, a former student at the American University in Cairo (AUC), had blackmailed them to succumb to his sexual demands. His purported victim included a teenage girl.
“He harassed me, my sister and my friends. He threatened to blackmail us. I was at heart scared of him. I was only 13 or 14 at the time," wrote a woman on an instigram account set up by activists to expose the man reportedly in his 20s.
The AUC said the suspect had left it in 2018, vowing a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
In response to the massive allegations, Egypt’s religious institutions and clerics have condemned sexual harassment, calling it a “cardinal sin”.