Cairo: Egyptian authorities have scrapped the licences of two hotels in the popular resort town of Sharm Al Shaikh after alleged rape of two British holidaymakers, state media reported on Wednesday.
The hotels were identified as the five-star Hilton Sharks Bay and the four-star Sharm Holiday Resort allegedly because their managers failed to report the incidents to the Tourism Ministry.
Earlier this week, the British press claimed that a 40-year-old woman had been raped by an hotel security guard in the Red Sea resort and with the help of the British consulate in Sharm Al Shaikh had been flown back home.
“I only learnt about the incident from the media,” Egyptian Tourism Minister Hesham Zazou said.
Egypt’s chief prosecutor ordered an investigation into the alleged rape that reportedly occurred on March 6.
The Egyptian tourism authority, meanwhile, disclosed that another British holidaymaker was sexually assaulted by an Egyptian employee at an hotel massage session in Sharm Al Shaikh.
“Revoking the licences is a cry from the ministry against the incidents,” Zazou said.
The British Foreign Office has warned against a rise in sexual harassment of Britons in Egypt since a 2011 popular uprising that removed long-standing president Hosni Mubarak.
An Egyptian policeman is to face an urgent trial before a criminal court on charges of attempting to rape a Russian holidaymaker in her hotel room in Sharm Al Shaikh, said judicial sources.
Around 150 cases of sexual harassment and three rapes against tourists have been reported in Egypt in the past two years, according to the tourism authorities.
The incidents come at a time when Egyptian authorities strive to revive the tourism industry, one of the nation’s top foreign currency earners, which has been hard hit by political turmoil and attacks by suspected Islamist insurgents.
A sharp increase in sex offences in the conservative country has prompted the Egyptian government to consider toughening penalties against offenders.
Under a draft law being discussed by the military –backed government, sexual harassment will be punished by up to 10 years in prison instead of two years at present.
The convicted offender will also be ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh526) to 20,000 pounds (Dh1,052), according to government officials.
A UN report released last year found that 99.3 per cent of women in Egypt have been subjected to sexual harassment.