CAIRO: Some 35 percent of women forced into a waiver of their inheritance are physically assaulted, according to a statistic by the Centre for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance (CEWLA.)
A total of 15 percent of such women are “financially blackmailed” and 50 percent waive their inheritance as a result of “emotional blackmail,” fear from familial disputes and desertion.
Brothers constitute 50 percent of factors behind women’s deprivation of their inheritance, and mothers represent 25 percent. Meanwhile, in 25 percent of the cases live fathers transfer ownership of all their assets to their sons, according to the statistic reported by Youm7 Friday.
Lawsuits filed by women in pursuit of their inheritance rights after being subjected to violence amounted to 250,000 in 2013-2016. A total of 60 percent of the lawsuits originated from Fayoum, southwest of Cairo, Kafr el-Sheikh, Delta, Asyut, Qena, and Sohag, Upper Egypt, Dakahlia and Sharqia, Delta, Minya, Upper Egypt, and Giza. The remaining 40 percent come from the rest of Egypt’s governorates.
In 2014, Egypt rejected a recommendation by the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of equal inheritance for men and women.
Decree on inheritance rights
In January, the Cabinet decreed that anyone who deliberately deprives an heir from his inheritance will be jailed for at least six months and fined 20,000-100,000 EGP or either penalty.
“Some inherited negative customs and traditions unfortunately lead to depriving women from her right to inheritance, although [the act] breaches [Islamic] law,” head of the National Council for Women Mervat al-Talawy stated after the issuance of the decree.
Those who withhold documents proving an heir’s right to a share of inheritance will be jailed for a minimum of three months and fined at least 10,000 EGP, the decree stipulates.
In case of another conviction of the same kind, the offender will be jailed for at least a year.
Women’s legal inheritance
Inheritance law in Egypt is governed by Islamic Sharia, which stipulates specific percentages for the immediate family and in some cases for members of the extended family.
Some relatives withhold inheritance of female family members, especially if the inheritance is in the form of a land under the premise that her husband would take over her capital.
Although sons inherit twice as much as daughters, there are a number of cases in which women inherit as much or more than men, depending on the heirs’ relation to the deceased, according to Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa.
Additional reporting by Asmaa Shalaby