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Law Criminalizing Sexual Harassment: Progressive deterrent penalties, prosecution without prior authorization, rehabilitation of victims

4-1-2021

In its issue of December 31, An Nahar newspaper published the key articles of the Law Criminalizing Sexual Harassment passed by the Legislature on December 21, (https://bit.ly/3rToInK), as cited by MP Enaya Ezzedine. Article One: Definition of sexual harassment: It is any improper, not within the range of normal, behavior, an unwelcome conduct by the victim, and carrying sexual connotations that constitute a flagrant encroachment on the body, privacy and feelings of the victim in any place, whether by words, actions, gestures or insinuations, including cyber harassment. Article Two: Progressive penalties: Anyone who commits the crime of sexual harassment is punished with a month to a year imprisonment, and a fine of three times the minimum wage. Should the harassment act occur within the framework of hiearchy, or work relationship, or if it occurred at a military or public department, the perpetrator is punished with 6 months to 2 years imprisonment and a fine equivalent to 10-20 times the minimum wage. And if the offense was committed against a juvenile or a person with special needs, the harasser is punished with 2-4 year imprisonment and a fine equivalent to 30-50 times the minimum wage. Article Three: Prosecution of a crime of sexual harassment does not require obtaining prior permission Article Six: Setting up a special fund at the Ministry of Social Affairs with the aim to assist victims of sexual harassment, including provision of assistance, rehabilitation and integration in society. Ezz El-Din stressed what is important is the application and observance of the law, with the cooperation, to this effect, of the security apparatus, the judiciary and all concerned care institutions, and with follow-up by awareness programs in the curricula of schools and universities. (An Nahar, December 31, 2020)

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