Egypt Shocked by Brutal Murder of Student in Broad Daylight

Authorities said Naira Ashraf Abdel Qader was repeatedly stabbed by a male classmate she had blocked on Facebook.
Naira Ashraf
Naira Ashraf. Photo: Handout

A young woman was stabbed to death in broad daylight outside her university in northern Egypt, with a suspect who police say is a fellow student in custody. 

Egypt has been shocked by the murder of Naira Ashraf Abdel Qader, who was killed in front of horrified onlookers and in full view of security cameras. Images of her body have spread on social media after she was repeatedly stabbed in her neck and torso outside the entrance of Mansoura University. 

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Police said a suspect was in custody, and in interviews had confessed he was motivated by her refusal to communicate with him on Facebook and marry him.

According to Egyptian news site Al-Falah Al-Youm, the accused, who has been named only as “Mohammed A” and was arrested at the scene, told the prosecutor yesterday that Ashraf had blocked him on social media and that he had made several attempts to contact her throughout a year and a half period which he told investigators “she became famous” and accrued a social media following. 

Najum Masria, another Egyptian news site, reported that the victim’s father revealed in a TV interview the accused had threatened Ashraf more than once, and that the family had reported these threats to the police. 

Egyptian authorities have been consistently criticised by human rights groups for failing to protect women. 

In its latest country report, Amnesty International said that Egyptian authorities were failing “to prevent and investigate widespread violence against women and girls”. And according to Human Rights Watch, “Egyptian authorities carried out an extensive campaign of arrests and prosecutions against women social media influencers, in violation of their rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and non-discrimination.” 

Despite calls to stop circulating surveillance footage of the killing on social media, video footage of the attack and a crowd approaching the scene have gone viral, with users across the Arab world condemning the killing.