Moral Low Ground


Dutch Reporter Reportedly Gang Raped in Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square. (Photo: Lodgaard/Flickr Creative Commons)

Hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. (Photo: Lodgaard/Flickr Creative Commons)

A female Dutch reporter was reportedly gang-raped several days ago while covering protests and unrest Egypt’s capital city.

Israel’s YNet News reports the alleged incident occurred in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, ground zero of the 2011 Arab Spring revolution that culminated in the resignation of longtime US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak. That revolution ushered in the era of Muslim Brotherhood rule. Lately, President Mohamed Morsi has become increasingly unpopular, with millions of Egyptians once again taking to the streets of cities such as Cairo and Alexandria to demand his resignation. It was during one such protest that the Dutch reporter was allegedly attacked by a group of “several men.”

“A Dutch journalist in Tahrir was raped by men who dub themselves revolutionists,” Dina Zakaria, a reporter for the pro-revolution Egypt 25 news channel, wrote on her Facebook page on Sunday. “Her condition is severe and she has been hospitalized.”

A state hospital issued a statement confirming that the journalist had been admitted after being raped by “five men” several days ago. According to the hospital, the woman underwent surgery and was later released.

General Talaat Abdallah, Egypt’s chief prosecutor, reportedly visited the woman in hospital as an investigation into the alleged attack begins.

Sexual harassment and sexual violence are very common in Egypt. Although assault is a crime in the predominantly Muslim nation of nearly 83 million people, sexual assault is not.

According to the United Nations, there were 25 reported sexual assaults in Tahrir Square last month. On January 25– the second anniversary of the anti-Mubarak revolt– some 19 women and girls were reportedly sexually assaulted in the square.

Attacks against female journalists are rare but do occur. Last October, Sonia Dridi, a reporter for France 24, was attacked by a mob of men and sexually assaulted while covering protests in Tahrir Square. And in February 2011, CBS reporter Lara Logan was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted during the frenzied celebration that occurred in Tahrir Square following Mubarak’s resignation.

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