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Sharm Resorts Under Fire

Egypt's Ministry of Tourism cracks down on hotels and resorts in Sharm El Sheikh after a string of sexual abuse and rape cases make international news.

The latest in a string of reported rapes in the beach town of Sharm El Sheikh, a police officer working in South Sinai has just been referred to a criminal court by Egypt's prosecutor-general, for the attempted rape of a Russian tourist. The defendant, Ibrahim Ismael entered the room of Lilian Marizuean via her balcony and tried to rape her, according to the statement. Marizuean managed to resist him and reported the incident the next day, although the exact hotel was not specified. The trial is set to take place in Ismailia, the nearest criminal court to Sharm.

This comes in the wake of Egypt's Ministry of Tourism recently revoking the licenses of two hotels in Sharm El Sheikh after incidents of sexual abuse were reported. Hilton Sharks Bay and Sharm Holiday Resort both had their licenses withdrawn after the cases of sexual harassment at the hotels were ignored by management. The decision occurred after a British tourist told the Daily Mail she had been raped by a security guard at an unnamed five-star hotel in Sharm, which prompted an investigation into the allegation by the tourism ministry, as well as Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou's decision to revoke the licenses. We knew Sharm was infamous for sexual harassment (as is the rest of Egypt) but rape by a security guard at a 5-star hotel really makes us question the degree of safety at the seaside haven. In fact, in 2013 Zaazou said that the year prior the ministry had uncovered three cases of rape and 150 cases of sexual harassment in Sharm alone.

The Egyptian Chamber of Hotels was notified by the Ministry of Tourism that the entity would exercise its legal right to withdraw hotel licenses when a breach in acceptable public conduct occurred or if the hotel contributes to "harming the country's reputation or security." Check and check.

The ministry is said to be currently implementing measures to prevent such occurrences in future, as well as investigating the reported incident with the British Embassy and local tourism police. Measure include that Egypt's Chamber of Travel Agencies immediately file a case at the office of the General Prosecution against any tourism worker who sexually harasses a tourist. The report must detail the abuse reported by the victim as well as the name of the venue where it occurred.

At the conclusion of the current investigation into the rape, the ministry says a severe punishment will be imposed if the alleged crime is officially confirmed.


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