Thursday, March 24, 2011

Amnesty protests at ‘torture’ of female protesters by Egyptian military

Chris Stanton, The National,  Mar 24, 2011

CAIRO // Egyptian military personnel tortured a group of female detainees with forced “virginity tests” and other forms of humiliation at a prison in the capital this month, Amnesty International said yesterday.

The international human rights group’s report of torture against 17 female protesters arrested on March 9 came after Monday’s calls for an investigation from a coalition of Egyptian human rights groups.

The new report follows a number of other allegations — some documented on YouTube videos with alleged victims displaying ugly bruises and lacerations — that military forces have beaten and abused protesters arrested in recent weeks.

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

The report quotes a female detainee by name who said she was arrested by the military while participating in a sit-in in Tahrir Square, transferred to a prison, and forced to take off all her clothing and undergo a virginity test by a man in a white coat along with 16 other detainees. According to the report, which was reportedly corroborated by other unnamed victims who spoke to Amnesty International, the military personnel “tried to further humiliate the women by allowing men to watch and photograph what was happening”.

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