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Egypt: Woman stabbed to death by fellow student in 'revenge' attack

Salma Bahgat, a 20-year-old media student, was stabbed 17 times in the latest case of femicide in Egypt
Salma Bahgat was killed in Zagazig on 9 August 2022 after rejecting a male student's advances (Screengrab)

An Egyptian woman has been stabbed to death by a fellow student in the city of Zagazig, northeast of Cairo, in another femicide seemingly motivated by revenge.

Salma Bahgat, a 20-year-old media student at Al-Shorouk Academy, was stabbed 17 times by Eslam Mohammed while leaving a building in Zagazig on Tuesday.

AFP reported that Bahgat had allegedly rejected Mohammed's advances. The killing is the second such campus femicide in two months, Egyptian prosecutors said, adding that Mohammed had been arrested by police at the scene.

Egyptian authorities had seized CCTV footage from the area, the knife and the mobile phones of Bahgat and Mohammed, who confessed to committing the killing "out of revenge", according to local media.

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Mohammed, who appeared to know Bahgat well, had published a photo on his social media account of her laying dead on the floor, Egyptian media reported.

He wrote posts before the crime, threatening Bahgat with an "ugly end", and posted several pictures of them together. Authorities also found two tattoos on Mohammed, one on his chest, carrying the name Salma.

Mohammed also published a picture of the back of his hand bleeding, saying: "I wrote her name with fire so my love for her will not be extinguished," Albawabh news reported.

The killing of Bahgat revived memories of the June murder of Nayera Ashraf, who was beaten and stabbed multiple times in broad daylight by a fellow university student 150 km north of Cairo when she refused his advances and rejected his marriage proposal.

After convicting and sentencing to death her killer, Mohamed Adel, the court called for changes to the law to allow executions to be broadcast live as a deterrent to others.

Capital punishment in Egypt is rarely carried out in public, or broadcast. 

Widespread anger

Nearly eight million Egyptian women were victims of violence committed by their partners or relatives, or by strangers in public spaces, according to a United Nations survey conducted in 2015.

A report in February by the Edraak Foundation for Development and Equality recorded 813 cases of violence against women and girls in 2021, compared with 415 such crimes in 2020.

High-profile femicides have triggered widespread anger in Egypt in recent months, including the murder in June of television presenter Shaimaa Gamal. Her husband, a senior judicial official, was arrested following a tip-off from an accomplice who confessed to taking part in the crime, according to the prosecution.

And in March, a teenager was sentenced to five years in prison over the suicide of a schoolgirl after images of her were shared online.