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Egypt sends 13 to trial for sexual violence after brutal assault

Mideast Egypt Sexual Harassment-1.jpg

FILE -- In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 file photo, an Egyptian youth, trailed by his friends, gropes a woman crossing the street with her friends in Cairo, Egypt. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt's newly sworn-in president, has apologized in person to a woman who was sexually assaulted by a mob during weekend celebrations marking his inauguration. Several women were assaulted during the Sunday, June 8, 2014 inaugural festivities. (AP Photo/Ahmed Abd El Latif, El Shorouk Newspaper, File) EGYPT OUTThe Associated Press

Officials in the office of Egypt's top prosecutor say 13 men have been referred to trial for assaulting women during a public rally, in what was the first implementation of tough new penalties against rampant sexual violence.

The Saturday referral comes less than a week after a mob brutally attacked and sexually assaulted a group of women during celebrations following the inauguration of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

The speedy trial reflects a government push to address the issue. Harassment has long been a problem, but assaults have become more frequent and gruesome over the past three years. El-Sissi visited one of the survivors in the hospital, apologizing and promising tough actions against the attackers.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.