Lebanon arrests three Egyptian suspects in Cairo gang rape case

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese security forces have arrested three Egyptian men wanted in their home country on charges of involvement in an alleged gang rape six years ago.

The arrest, reported late Saturday, followed an Interpol notice for the suspects at the request of Egypt.

A Lebanese security official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said yesterday that “legal and administrative procedures” were underway to deport the three men, who are in their early 30s.

The case was uncovered by a social media account following sexual assaults in Egypt. The alleged gang rape took place at a five-star Cairo hotel in 2014 but word of the assault surfaced only in July when an Instagram account, Assault Police, reported the allegations as part of a vigorous #MeToo campaign that swept Egypt this summer.

Last week, Egyptian prosecutors named nine men as suspects — seven had already left the country after allegations of the rape went viral in July.

File photo shows Egyptian women shouting slogans and holding banners during a protest against sexual assaults, in Cairo. PHOTO: AP

Five of the suspects arrived in Lebanon, according to a statement from Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces. Acting on a request from Egypt, three were arrested late Friday in the village of Fatqa, north of Beirut, while the other two have apparently left Lebanon.

Another two suspects were arrested in Egypt, including one last week as he attempted to flee the country. The whereabouts of the other suspects remain unknown.

The Egypt #MeToo campaign also led to the arrest of a former student at Egypt’s most elite university, the American University of Cairo, over multiple accusations of rape and sexual assaults.

Police Assault said at least six men hailing from wealthy and powerful families had drugged and raped a woman after a party at Cairo’s five-star Fairmont Nile City Hotel.

Following the Instagram report, Egypt’s chief prosecutor opened an investigation and last week, General Prosecutor Hamada el-Sawy issued the arrest warrants.