Egyptians outraged at admission of virginity tests upon protesters

Arab World Materials 31 May 2011 15:11 (UTC +04:00)

Many Egyptians expressed their anger Tuesday after a senior Egyptian general admitted that virginity checks were performed on women arrested during demonstrations in March, after previous denials by military authorities, DPA reported.

Dozens were detained by the army when it forcibly removed protesters from central Cairo's Tahrir Square on March 9.

One female protester later said she was stripped naked in front of cameras before having her virginity tested at a military prison. She claimed that anyone found not to be a virgin was charged with prostitution.

A senior general, who asked not to be identified, told CNN the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice.

"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," the general said. "None of them were (virgins)."

The Higher Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces, which has run the country since the ouster of former president Hosny Mubarak, said it is investigating the allegations of both torture and virginity tests.

"The virginity checks performed on female Egyptian protesters are sickening, un-Muslim, and against basic rights," one Egyptian, identified as Heba, wrote online.

The admission comes as activists criticize the council and accuse it of carrying out the same oppressive tactics that spurred the revolt against Mubarak.

"This is not an admission, this is a crime. I cannot believe they are convinced they had the right to do so," an activist said.