Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Egypt; virginity tests now banned...sort of

I have not read the specific details on what exactly constitutes a virginity test, but I can imagine how invasive, humiliating and insulting it must be.  On the one hand it is good to see the administrative court issuing the ban, on the other hand it is disturbing that the order "...only affects the use of such tests in military prisons and on women in temporary detention."  Not making the ban absolute and across the board leaves too much room for further abuses, and encourages the continuation of 1400 years of abuse and subjugation against women.

From CNN December 27 by Mohamed Fadel Fahmy

Egyptian court rules against virginity tests

Cairo (CNN) -- An Egyptian administrative court issued an order Tuesday banning virginity tests for female detainees, months after several women alleged they were subjected to such examinations following a March protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The ruling comes in the case of Samira Ibrahim, a 25-year-old marketing manager who took the country's military led-government to court in August, alleging she was among those subjected to the test after her arrest during the March 9 protest. 

She said she faced death threats after bringing the case."Justice has been served today," Ibrahim told CNN. "These tests are a crime and also do not comply with the constitution, which states equality between men and woman. I will not give up my rights as a woman or a human being."

Aly Hassan, a judicial consultant affiliated with Ministry of Justice, said the order only affects the useof such tests in military prisons and on women in temporary detention.  "Those tests are not considered a crime or else the file would be in the Criminal Court," Hassan said. "It's the circumstances of the alleged test that may be in question here."

In March, the human rights group Amnesty International reported that Egyptian troops beat, shocked and strip-searched women arrested during the protest in Cairo and forced them to submit to virginity tests.  Egyptian authorities initially denied requiring virginity tests, but in May, a senior general who asked not to be identified acknowledged the practice.  The general said the tests were performed as a safeguard against the women accusing authorities of sexual assault, and he defended the tests."

"The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine," the general told CNN at the time. 

"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)."

Read it all

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