Virginity testing of women to end, court tells army
Published 29/12/2011 | 05:00
AN Egyptian court has ordered the country's army rulers to stop the use of 'virginity tests' on female detainees.
The virginity-test allegations surfaced after a March 9 rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square that turned violent when men in plainclothes attacked protesters and the army cleared the square by force. The group Human Rights Watch said seven women were subjected to the tests.
The court's banning of the practice came a week after public outrage over scenes of soldiers dragging women protesters by the hair, stomping on them and stripping one half-naked in the street during a fierce crackdown on activists.
"This is a (legal) case for all the women of Egypt," said Samira Ibrahim (25), who was arrested but then spoke out about her treatment.
She filed two suits against the practice, one demanding it be banned and another accusing an officer of sexual assault. She was the only one to complain publicly about a practice that can bring shame upon the victim in a conservative society.
The three-judge panel ruled that the tests were "a violation of women's rights and dignity".
They also said that a member of the ruling military council admitted to Amnesty International in June that the practice was carried out on female detainees in March to protect the army against possible allegations of rape, indicating that it was an administrative order, rather than an individual decision.