BEIRUT

Middle East

Egyptian police arrest suspect in rape of Briton

Egyptian women protest in Cairo against violence committed against them by security forces, in this 2011 photo.

LUXOR, Egypt: Egyptian authorities arrested a man Saturday who is suspected of raping a British citizen in a banana plantation near the ancient southern city of Luxor, a security official said.

The official said the 35-year old suspect was arrested in the village of Qurna, west of Luxor, days after the British citizen reported the attack.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to reporters, said the suspect confessed and was referred to prosecutors for further investigation ahead of trial. Rape can carry the death sentence in Egypt.

Egypt has seen a rising wave of sexual violence, a phenomenon that has long been underreported in the conservative country. But recent mob attacks on women in public spaces have prompted the government to declare a tougher policy, increasing sentences on sexual harassment and convening a number of speedy trials against perpetrators of mass public assaults.

The British citizen, who lives in Egypt, told police last week that the suspect had first verbally harassed her as she walked to the market in Qurna. On her way back, the suspect dragged her into a banana plantation and raped her under the threat of a knife, the official said. The British woman identified the suspect during investigation, leading to his arrest Saturday.

 

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