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Prosecutors shelve case over Cairo hotel gang rape allegation for 'insufficent evidence'

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By Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s public prosecutors have shelved a case over a woman’s allegation that she was gang raped at a luxury hotel in Cairo in 2014 because of “insufficient evidence” against the defendants, they said in a statement on Tuesday.

Anger at inaction following the incident at the Fairmont Hotel helped fuel a campaign against harassment and assault in which hundreds of women have shared testimonies online and grew more vocal about exposing sexual abuse in Egypt.

The four defendants were released from custody because evidence amassed during nearly nine months of investigation was insufficient to bring a criminal case, the prosecutors said.

They added that 39 people were interviewed but the testimonies were contradictory.

Several witnesses in the case were arrested and held for months in what some human rights activists said was part of a tendency by authorities to prioritise traditional social morality at the expense of women’s rights.

Encouraged by the #MeToo movement, the woman who said she was drugged and gang raped at the hotel posted an anonymous account online before filing a formal complaint in July.

(Reporting by Haitham Ahmed; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Grant McCool)