Egypt: Women Protesters Forced to Take “Virginity Tests”
Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:35 PM

Amnesty International reports that at least 18 female protestors were arrested, tortured, and forced to take “virginity tests” by Army officials in Egypt.

The crimes took place after officers attempted to clear protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on March 9. The female protestors were detained, beaten and subjected to electric shocks. They were then strip searched by a female prison guard.

A 20-year-old woman, Salwa Hosseini, told Amnesty International that the strip search took place in a room with open doors and window, where male soldiers were able to look in and take photographs of the naked women.

The women were then taken to another room where a man in a white coat subjected them to virginity exams and told them that those who were not found to be virgins would be charged with prostitution. One woman told Amnesty International that although she was a virgin, her test supposedly showed otherwise, and she was beaten and given electric shocks.

Egyptian journalist Rasha Azeb, was also detained in Tahrir Square and handcuffed, beaten and insulted.

After their arrest and torture, the 18 women were taken to an annex in the Cairo Museum, where they were handcuffed, beaten with sticks and hoses, given electric shocks and called “prostitutes”.

Rasha Azeb was able to hear the other women tortured by electric shock in the museum. She was released several hours later with four other male journalists. The 17 other women were transferred to a military prison, where they were then brought before a military court on March 11. They were released on March 13, several with one-year suspended prison sentences. Salwa Hosseini was charged with disorderly conduct, destroying private and public property, obstructing traffic, and carrying weapons.

El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence was able to confirm that the testimonies of Salwa Hosseini and Rasha Azeb are consistent with those of the other women who were beat, electrocuted, and forced to virginity tests.

Compiled fromWomen’s United Nations Report NetworkAmnesty International (31 March 2011).