Secret shame of Egypt's army: Women protesters were forced to have 'virginity checks' after being arrested in Tahrir Square
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:10 AM on 24th March 2011
Women arrested by the Egyptian police during protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square were subjected to forced 'virginity tests', according to Amnesty International.
Eighteen demonstrators were detained after army officers cleared the square on March 9 at the end of weeks of protest.
Amnesty today said that the women had been beaten, given electric shocks and then subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers.
They were then given 'virginity checks' and threatened with prostitution charges if medics ruled they had had sex, according to the charity.
Detained: Eighteen women protesters were detained in Cairo's Tahrir Square and then subjected to horrific treatment, according to Amnesty International. There is no suggestion that any of the women in this photograph were arrested
Salwa Hosseini, 20, said she had been arrested and taken to a military prison in Heikstep where she was forced to strip and then searched by a female guard.
She told the charity a number of male soldiers were watching through two open doors and a window and it was at that point they took photographs.
Miss Hosseini then went on to describe 'virginity tests' being carried out by a man in a white coat.
She claims the women were threatened with charges if they were found not to be virgins.
Meanwhile Rasha Azeb, a female journalist who arrested in Tahrir Square at the same time, claims that she was handcuffed and beaten by security forces.
She described being taken to a building within the Cairo Musuem complex where she could witnessed other women being tortured with electric shocks to the chest and legs.
Miss Azeb was released after several hours along with a number of male journalists. The other women were sent to Heikstep.
The group finally faced a military court on March 11 and were released on March 13.
Miss Hosseini was covicted of disorderly conduct, destroying private and public property, obstructing traffic and carrying weapons.
Amnesty has called for the Egyptian authorities to hold a full investigation into the alleged abuse.
Mass protest: There were thousands of women who joined the protests which eventually ousted the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak
A spokesman for the human rights organisation said that the actions were 'utterly unacceptable.'
'The purpose is to degrade women because they are women,' he said. 'All women of the medical profession must refuse to take part in such so-called "tests."'
The spokesman also said that one woman who told the military she was a virgin and then failed the 'test' was beaten and given electric shocks.
'Women and girls must be able to express their views on the future of Egypt and protest against the government without being detained, tortured, or subjected to profoundly degrading and discriminatory treatment,' he added.
'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.
'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.
'All security and army forces must be clearly instructed that torture and other ill-treatment, including forced "virginity tests", will no longer be tolerated, and will be fully investigated.
'Those found responsible for such acts must be brought to justice and the courageous women who denounced such abuses be protected from reprisals.'
Testimonies of other women detained at the same time collected by the El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence are consistent with Rasha Azeb and Salwa Hosseini’s accounts of beatings, electrocution and ‘virginity tests’.
Former GMTV correspondent Lara Logan was treated in hospital for six days after being sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square while covering the demonstrations.
Now a reporter for American network CBS, she was attacked by a mob of 200 after being separated from security personnel.
Attack: CBS correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square
Are any of our liberal friends picking up on a trend yet?