'Virginity tests' was done on protesters: Egyptian General

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Egypt Revolts
Cairo, May 31: In a shocking revelation on May 31, a senior Egyptian military official has admitted that 'virginity checks' were done upon women arrested during the now famous uprisings that led to the removal of Hosni Mubarak after his three-decades old rule. This is the first such admission after previously repeated denials by the country's military authorities.

The general was quoted by CNN as saying, "The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs)."

He claimed that the tests were done to ensure that the women do not later claim that they had been raped by Egyptian authorities. The general said, "We didn't want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren't virgins in the first place. None of them were (virgins)."

The allegations of a virginity test first arose in an Amnesty International report, published a week after the March 09 protests. The report claimed that female protesters were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.

Soon after the report was published, the Egyptian military, which had wrested power from Hosni Mubarak, dismissed the claims of virginty test as untrue but admitted that 17 women had been detained.

Salwa Hosseini, a 20-year-old hairdresser, who was named as a victim of the perverted tests, was quoted by CNN as saying, "They wanted to teach us a lesson. They wanted to make us feel that we do not have dignity."

She was quoted as saying how the army took them to a detention centre in Heikstep and forced her along with many other girls and women to undergo the virginity tests. She said, "We did not agree for a male doctor to perform the test", and informed that none of the voices were given any consideration and rather they were forced to to comply by threatening with more stun-gun shocks.

She recollected and said, "I was going through a nervous breakdown at that moment. There was no one standing during the test, except for a woman and the male doctor. But several soldiers were standing behind us watching the backside of the bed. I think they had them standing there as witnesses."

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