Women's rights protests in Egypt
Women protest against sexual harassment in Cairo after a woman was sexually assaulted during celebrations marking the new president's inauguration in Tahrir square.Reuters

An Egyptian court has sentenced seven men to life in prison for sexual assaults against women during the public rallies that took place in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square between 3 and 8 June. 

Two other men convicted on Wednesday received 20-year sentences for taking part in numerous assaults. The lengthy jail terms mark the first serious sentences against sexual abusers since Egypt's new president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, vowed to toughen penalties in June.

The women were attacked in Cairo during celebrations following the election of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when at least nine incidents of mob sexual assaults and harassment in and around Tahrir Square. 

An assault on the 8 June was discovered after a video emerged showing a young woman being stripped naked and beaten by a crowd in Tahrir Square. The attack was notably embarrassing for President Sisi, given his election promise to end the frequent assaults occurring in public places.

Before Sisi's inauguration, interim president Adly Mansour said physical and verbal sexual harassment would be punishable by six-month to five-year prison sentences.

Sisi vowed, during his campaign, to "restore the sense of shame" to people convicted of sexual abuse or assault.

Egypt's long-standing reputation for being light on punishment for sexual offenders came into focus following the 2011 uprisings that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

Though men and women protested alongside one another, women were persistently subjected to sexual assaults during the mass protests in Tahrir Square. CBS News journalist Lara Logan was one of the victims.