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Military intelligence head says virginity tests conducted out of self-defense: Amnesty

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By Brett Borkan

CAIRO: The Egyptian military conducted virginity tests on female protestors in self-defense against potential rape allegations, Major General Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, head of Egypt’s military intelligence, reportedly told Amnesty International Sunday.

According to a press release from Amnesty, Al-Sisi, who is a member of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), “said virginity tests were carried out to protect the army against possible allegations of rape.”

This is the first time that a member of the military council ruling Egypt since former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February has been named confirming that the military carried out virginity tests.

In May, CNN quoted an anonymous Egyptian army general admitting that virginity tests were conducted on female protestors during a crackdown on Tahrir Square protestors on March 9.

In the report, the army general defended the practice of virginity tests, which have created an uproar both inside and outside of Egypt.

“The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine,” CNN quoted the unnamed general as saying, “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).”

“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 CNN report added.

In the statement released Sunday from Amnesty, Al-Sisi went on to assure that the “army does not intend to detain women again.”

“Major General Al-Sisi explained the need to change the culture of the security forces and gave assurances that instructions had been given not to use violence against demonstrators and to protect detainees against ill-treatment,” Amnesty added.

In regards to those alleging abuse, Al-Sisi urged them to “complain to the military prosecutor” and to “post their complaints on the SCAF Facebook page.”

Al-Sisi also “gave assurances that instructions had been given not to use violence against demonstrators and to protect detainees against ill-treatment,” Amnesty said.

 

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