The brutal murder of a woman shocked the Arab world

Naira Ashraf, 21, was fatally shot on Monday by a man whose advances she rejected, according to Egyptian prosecutors, who said the suspect was arrested near Mansour University in northern Egypt, where the incident took place and where Ashraf studied.

Video from a nearby security camera showing a man attacking a woman outside a university has gone viral across the Arab world this week. A lawyer for Ashraf’s family confirmed to CNN that the video shows the incident in which Ashraf was killed.

Egypt’s prosecution said the suspect had been transferred to a criminal court and would stand trial for premeditated murder. The first court session is scheduled for Sunday. CNN was unable to contact the suspect or his family for comment, and it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

“Definitely, Naira’s murder was not an isolated incident,” Lobna Darwish, a gender and human rights specialist with the Egyptian Initiative for Individual Rights (EIPR), told CNN. “[But] we [now] seeing more coverage of violence against women.”

Data is missing because such incidents are not properly documented by the state, Darwish said, but cases of abuse appear in the news almost monthly. “We are seeing disturbing patterns,” she added.

The Arabic equivalent of the hashtag #Justice_for_Naira_Ashraf became widely popular in Arab countries after the assassination.

“We need a law that fights violence,” said Azza Suliman, an Egyptian lawyer and chairman of the Egyptian Women and Legal Aid Center. She also added that there should be a respectful and dignified discourse around women in order to create trust between women and the state apparatus.

The murdered woman’s father, Ashraf Abdelkader, told CNN that the suspect offered to marry her several times but was turned down. The suspect also allegedly created fake accounts to follow her on social media, he added. Eventually, in April, Abdelkader filed for a restraining order.

“She didn’t want to get married, she wanted to follow her career… and she wanted to be a flight attendant,” Abdelkader said.

Darwish said that the victim and her family had exhausted all measures to protect Ashraf, “and again the whole system – social or legal – has failed.”

Suliman said that in order for women to feel comfortable reporting such incidents, it is necessary to “re-establish the channels of justice, including the police, judges and prosecutors.”

Some reacted to the murder by placing the blame on the victim. Former TV presenter Mabrouk Atteya, a controversial former TV presenter, said in a social media video that women “should cover up” to prevent men from killing them.

“Women and girls should cover up and dress loosely to stop the temptation… if you feel your life is precious, leave the house completely closed so that those who want you do not kill you,” Atthea said live.

Attea’s comments sparked outrage on social media and sparked a social media campaign calling for his arrest.

Darwish noted that while Egypt is moving forward with tougher laws on sexual harassment, police and society still do not enforce them, which in turn discourages many women from seeking legal help.

Egypt’s government news agency did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. It was not possible to contact the Egyptian National Council for Women.

Harassment is illegal in Egypt, and last June the state tightened laws on sexual harassment, increasing fines and extending prison sentences, state media reported.
United Nations Development Program ranked in 2019 Egypt 108 out of 162 countries ranked on gender inequality in health, empowerment and economic activity.

Last year, nine women were prosecuted on charges of violating family values ​​after they posted videos of them dancing and singing and inviting millions of followers to make money on social media, Reuters reported.

“When the state supports this kind of discourse in any way by criminalizing women for the way they dress or the way they present themselves, it gives these people a green light,” Darwish said, referring to men who put the burden of modesty on themselves and morality. on women.

“It happens a lot,” Darwish said, referring to violence against women. “Just not on camera.”

Celine Alhaldi of CNN contributed to this report.


Iran-backed parties strengthen after sadists leave Iraqi parliament

Iraq’s parliament on Thursday swore in dozens of new MPs who will replace a bloc loyal to the powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadrstrengthening the power of rival Iranian-backed politicians in the assembly.
  • Background: A bloc of 73 Sadrist MPs resigned two weeks ago after months of deadlock over the formation of a new government. MP Ahmed Rubayeh, whose party is part of an Iranian-backed bloc, said the coalition was now the main force in the 329-seat parliament.
  • Why is it important: Sadr’s party was the biggest winner in October’s general election, and its success has raised the likelihood that he will be able to marginalize his Iranian-backed rivals who have dominated Iraqi politics for years. Sadr is critical of Iran and has close ties to the Gulf Arab states that oppose Iran.

Top EU Official Travels to Tehran to Discuss Iran Nuclear Deal

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell was due to visit Iran on Friday and Saturday to discuss the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, according to a tweet on his official account.

  • Background: In March, it looked like a deal to re-implement Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers was close, but talks were derailed in part by a dispute over whether the United States should remove Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. Borrell will meet with the Iranian foreign minister. “Diplomacy is the only way to get back to full implementation of the agreement and ease current tensions,” Borrell tweeted.
  • Why is it important: Last month, the EU agreed to a partial ban on Russian oil imports in hopes of hurting Moscow’s military efforts in Ukraine. Previously reliant on Russia for more than 20% of its oil imports, Europe is now scrambling to find alternative sources. A nuclear deal with Iran would lift sanctions and could bring its oil back to the market, cooling prices and filling in some of the gaps left by the Russian oil boycott.

Turkey and Israel are working on the restoration of ambassadors

Turkey and Israel are working to restore diplomatic relations to the level of ambassadors, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday at a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid.

  • Background: There have been months of warming between Israel and Turkey after more than a decade of strained relations. Tensions peaked in 2018, when the two countries expelled ambassadors. However, they found a common language in discussions about energy. Cavusoglu visited Israel for the first time in 15 years last month to encourage greater economic cooperation.
  • Why is it important: Israel is another key state in the region that could improve relations with Turkey. Once ostracized by regional giants Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Egypt, Turkey is now forging ties with more than one former adversary. Erdogan met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday.

What to watch

Amine Kakabawe, who fought as a member of the Kurdish Peshmerga and was a member of the Swedish Parliament for the past 14 years, tells CNN’s Becky Anderson why she is fighting for Kurdish rights amid Turkey’s opposition to Sweden’s NATO membership bid. Watch the interview here.

By region

Mobile carriers in the United Arab Emirates go beyond phone numbers, allowing users to contact each other using “tags” – and they sell them for big bucks.

The tags will serve as labels for phone numbers. They consist of a hashtag followed by one to five numbers. The country’s premier telecommunications company e& (formerly known as Etisalat) has begun auctioning off some of its most sought-after numbers.

In a country that’s obsessed with big numbers, some tags fetch bets in the millions of dirhams.

Some of the tags that can be played include #10, #1234, #11 and #55555.

Although no final bids have been announced, according to the local newspaper Khaleej Times, bidding for tag #10 reached AED1.5 million ($408,000) and for number 15 it reached AED800,000.

“#TAG is not only a unique short phone number, but also an innovative marketing and communication tool,” said Omar Matar Al Manna, Executive Director of Emirates Auction, which is managing the sale. “Creating a personal VIP number for a business sets them apart and attracts new customers with ease,” he told state news agency WAM.

In the past, rates on telephone numbers and car numbers in the country amounted to millions of dirhams. In April, the Abu Dhabi license plate is numbered “2”. Sales at auction for a whopping $6.3 million, while a traditional phone number last year Sales worth over $800,000.

Mohammed Abdelbari

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