Moral Low Ground

War & Peace

Female Egyptian Protesters Tortured, Forced to Take ‘Virginity Tests’

Turns out the Egyptian Army wasn’t so nice to everyone protesting against the Mubarak dictatorship earlier this month. According to Amnesty International, after the military cleared Tahrir Square of protesters on March 9, Egyptian troops rounded up at least 18 women and tortured them.

Salwa Hosseini, age 20, told Amnesty International that she was arrested and taken to a military prison in Heikstep. She was forced to strip naked and submit to a search by a female prison guard while male soldiers looked on and photographed her and other women. They were then subjected to “virginity tests” performed by a man in a white coat. The women were threatened that anyone found not to be a virgin would be charged with prostitution. One woman who claimed to be a virgin but whose test supposedly “proved” otherwise was beaten and tortured with electric shocks.

She wasn’t the only one tortured. Rasha Azeb, a journalist, was handcuffed, beaten and insulted. She and others were taken to an annex of the Cairo Museum where they were beaten with sticks and hoses, tortured with electric shocks to the breasts and legs, and called vulgar names, including “prostitute.”

Female protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo earlier this month. (Photo: Guardian)

Amnesty International condemned the deplorable treatment of these women:

“The Egyptian authorities must halt the shocking and degrading treatment of women protesters. Women fully participated in bringing change in Egypt and should not be punished for their activism.

All security and army forces must be clearly instructed that torture and other ill-treatment, including forced ‘virginity tests’, will no longer be tolerated, and will be fully investigated. Those found responsible for such acts must be brought to justice and the courageous women who denounced such abuses be protected from reprisals.

Women and girls must be able to express their views on the future of Egypt and protest against the government without being detained, tortured, or subjected to profoundly degrading and discriminatory treatment.”



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