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Egypt court sentences 3 teens to 15 years for grisly murder

Egypt court sentences 3 teens to 15 years for grisly murder

CAIRO (AP) — A court in Egypt convicted three teenage boys of fatally stabbing another boy who was defending a girl from sexual harassment, sentencing them to 15 years in prison.

The juvenile court found the three defendants had repeatedly stabbed Mahmoud el-Banna, 17, in October. The count also sentenced a fourth defendant to five years in prison on similar charges. The verdict can be appealed before a higher court.

El-Banna's killing stunned Egypt, with local media extensively covering the case. Surveys indicate that a vast majority of Egyptian women feel insecure in the streets.

There were calls on social media to execute the defendants, who are all under 18 years of age. The court gave them the maximum sentence set by Egypt’s laws for children accused of murder.

Sunday’s session took place amid tight security because of a fear of protests in the Nile Delta city of Shebeen el-Kom, 75 kilometers (45 miles) north of the capital, Cairo.

During a previous session in October, police arrested at least two dozen people who protested outside the court. Egypt's government has effectively banned all public protests since 2013.

Egypt's Interior Ministry said at the time that all those arrested were members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group and were inciting riots.

Sexual harassment, mostly ranging from catcalls to occasional pinching or grabbing, is rampant in Egypt.

In 2014, Egypt’s penal code was amended amid pressure from women’s groups to include a broad definition of sexual harassment and tougher penalties. However, most women remain reluctant to file complaints for fear of stigmatization.