carnegie logo

Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next »

EGYPT: Rights group alleges military forced captured female protesters into taking 'virginity tests'


Female activists detained during the Egyptian army's evacuation of Tahrir Square on March 9 told human-rights organizations that they were beaten, tortured and forced to take virginity tests while in military custody.

Salwa Hosseini, 20, who was taken by soldiers to a military prison on the outskirts of Cairo, told Amnesty International that she and fellow female detainees were strip searched, photographed while naked and subjected to electric shocks. Hossein added that female guards warned the captured women they would be charged with prostitution if they didn't take medical tests to prove they were virgins.

"Forcing women to have 'virginity tests' is utterly unacceptable. Its purpose is to degrade women because they are women," Amnesty International said. "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."
The human-rights group alleges the tests were carried out by a male doctor and that one woman, who claimed to be virgin while tests proved otherwise, was beaten and given electric shocks.

"The army officers tried to further humiliate the women by allowing men to watch and photograph what was happening, with the implicit threat that the women could be at further risk of harm if the photographs were made public," Amnesty's statement added.

Journalist Rasha Azeb, another female activist detained in Tahrir Square, said she was insulted, handcuffed and beaten.

El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence announced that testimonies given to them by other female captives echoed those of Azeb and Hosseini. Following the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, several hundred protesters decided to prolong their demonstrations in the square until what they called "all the Jan. 25 revolutionary demands" were fulfilled by the ruling Supreme Military Council.

On March 9, military forces intervened to clear the square in an incident that saw at least 100 activists detained, including more than 17 women. Many of those captured were initially taken to the nearby Egyptian museum, where they claimed to have been tortured and beaten by soldiers.

All female detainees were released on March 13 after appearing in front of a military court. A few, including Hosseini, were convicted of disorderly conduct, destroying private and public property, obstructing traffic and carrying weapons. Hosseini was sentenced to a suspended one-year imprisonment.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Female protesters taking part in the Egyptian revolution. Credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (15)

Thank Gaia that American Feminists have lifted their voices in unified shriek to confront and turn media attention onto this brutal behavior!! Thank Gaia that LAT has chosen to follow this up with the sameeditorial intensity and integrity and courage that it always exhibits in pursuing Amerika's constant sinning!!

God I think I smell rat.....The great people of Egypt better be vigilant at keeping the groups associated with ESLAM( It does not matter what and which ever flavor of that) at bay. It is very much like the kind of things happened after Iran revolution and what they did to female population of IRAN. They were always raped before being shot to death or hanging to prevent them from going to heaven according to

There are two things the United States Government still does not understand.

First, America cannot solve the world's financial, political, or social problems, nor should we impose our way of thinking on other people.

Second, the United States Government is gaining a reputation of trying to control the world which is not in our interest to do. America has so many problems of its own which are not being addressed.

It is unfortunate that these Egyptian women were abused, but it is up to the Egyptian people to address this issue.

That's difference between Egypt & Libya, Egypt most corrupt nation in Arab World suits everyone including Saudi Arabia, no need to say favorite of EU & US & her beloved partner Israel.
Egyptian are living in a condition no one lives in her / his own country with very exception minority population.
When every wrong things were happening in Egypt no one was talking to take any action against this criminal GOVT of Egypt, even Arab World has warned (it's verbal of course everyone knows where they stand, who cares for puppet's warnings) interference in Egypt but now all the puppet are inviting, collaborating Libyan invasion led by Obama & Sarkozy, the so called protector of world but reason of chaos in whole world.

What a messed up country.

Interesting how someone can find humor in reading that women who were brave enough to protest for democracy in a military-ruled country.
And, would it be funny if you were in Egypt and one of these women were your daughter, mother or sister? Not so funny is it?
Your arrogance and ignorance is an affront to decent people everywhere. And, no, I'm not Egyptian: I'm just an educated U.S. citizen who can respect a demonstration of real courage.

Si son virgenes seria un desperdicio ...

Disgusting and barbaric - You can always judge any nation by the way they treat women. Xexon is incorrect in his assesment of the impact of Christianity upon world civilizations. The most advances for women have taken place in nations which are based on the Judeo-Christian system of ethics.

Hey xexon, that statistic I cited about 82% of Egyptians supporting stoning adulterers was asked of only Muslim Egyptians. Can you honestly tell me that sexual repression is an aberration of religion considering that support for stoning adulterers is consistent with the Islamic hadiths?

Don't forget the Egyptian military was trained by the UNITED STATES military. Boot them out of Egypt Egyptians! We, the people of America support you and are trying to dismantle the American Imperial military from inside. They can't defeat all of us!

Wrong teachings are what happens when a bunch of zealots from ANY religion get together and "interpret" that men are the "head boss". If one reads the bible it will tell you that men are to lead and demonstrate the word of the Lord Jesus Christ and not to bully or push his personal agenda on his wife or his family but to use His word when leading your family. The man is commanded by the Lord to treat his wife and his children with love and care of the Word! This means that the man, who is the head of the family, also submits to his wife if she is making a wiser decision in a matter.

I don't see religion here. What I see are a bunch of male and female cowards and bullies called police officers.

CNN, where are you now? Oops! Forgot. This doesn't fit into the politically correct narrative.

I feel bad for the Egyptians, because it sure doesn't look like they're going to get democracy anytime soon.

As an Egyptian, this is not surprising. When it comes to problems with gender relations and sexual repressiveness, Egypt is as bad is gets. Consider the 2005 UNICEF estimate that 97% of all Egyptian girls are victims of female genital mutilation. Also a recent Pew poll revealed 82% of Egyptians supported stoning adulterers. Sexual harassment is rampant on the streets of Cairo. So long as Egyptians maintain a backwards attitude towards gender and sexuality, I cannot imagine Egypt as ever being a truly liberal democracy.

This is what happens when sexual repression is a part of your religion. It's an abberation and does not normally represent the body of that religion.

Laugh all you want. Christianity was putting down sexuality a long time before the Muslims came along...


Is that "V" they are holding up for VIRGINITY? LOL


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Recent News
Introducing World Now |  September 23, 2011, 8:48 am »



About the Contributors