Egypt's Parliament approves amendment to Penal Code to criminalise bullying

The draft law sets the punishment for perpetrators at no less than six-month imprisonment

  
A general view of Egypt's parliament in Cairo, Egypt, February 16, 2017. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A general view of Egypt's parliament in Cairo, Egypt, February 16, 2017. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Atef Hussein

The Parliament’s constitutional and legislative affairs committee announced it has approved, during a meeting on Tuesday, an amendment to the Penal Code to illegalise bullying in Egypt.

The new Article 309 defines bullying as any show of strength or control by the offender, as well as exploitation of the weakness of the victim, or of a situation that the bully believes would offend the victim. This can include gender, race, religion, physical descriptions, and health, mental, or social status, and is carried out with the aim of intimidating, ridiculing, or degrading them or of excluding them from a social environment.

The draft law sets the punishment for perpetrators at no less than six-month imprisonment, and a fine of between EGP 10,000 and EGP 30,000, or one of these two penalties.

The article also allows for harsher punishment in two cases: if the crime is committed by two or more persons; or if the perpetrator is a family member, one of the victim’s guardians, or someone who has authority over the victim. The penalty in these cases is imprisonment for no less than a year, and a fine of between EGP 20,000 and EGP 100,000, or one of these two penalties.

The minimum penalty is doubled if the crime is committed by two or more persons. If the perpetrators commit the crime again, the minimum and maximum punishment limits are doubled.

On 16 July, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly approved a draft law under the country’s Penal Code, including adding a new article defining the crime. The Prime Minister’s move comes in light of the growing phenomenon of bullying, which poses a threat to Egyptian society and necessitates amendment formal action to achieve social justice.

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