CAIRO: The military criminal court adjourned on Tuesday the trial of a conscript accused of conducting a forced virginity test on protester Samira Ibrahim to Jan. 15 to give the defendant’s lawyer time to read the case file.
Ahmed Adel Mohamed El-Mougy had been referred to the military court for forcibly subjecting Ibrahim and six other women to the test, on charges of committing an act of public indecency. He was also accused of neglecting military orders given to him.
"This morning we presented two requests before the North Cairo Military Prosecution: one has to do with modifying the charge from carrying out a public indecency act to sexually assaulting [Ibrahim]," lawyer Ahmed Hossam with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) told Daily News Egypt.
"In Ibrahim’s case, the verdict should be even tougher… because the assault was conducted by a person with authority … and in this case El-Mougy had power over Ibrahim at the military prison," Hossam explained.
Ibrahim, along with 16 other female protesters, were arrested by military police during a crackdown on a Tahrir sit-in last March. All were referred to a military trial; seven of them were forced to undergo the virginity tests.
Each of the 17 women received a one-year suspended sentence.
Hossam also requested that the military prosecution allow him to attend the hearings.
"Only a defendant’s lawyer is allowed to attend the hearings in military trials … while the prosecution acts as a mediator between the victims’ lawyer and the court," he said.
A number of military court officials have interceded to water down the charge against El-Mougy from sexual assault, as it was originally, to an act of public indecency, EIPR said Monday.
A person who commits an act of public indecency receives a maximum of one year in prison or is fined.
"The original case file of which we have a copy, mentioned that the military prosecution had charged [El-Mougy] with sexual assault, which he denied," Hossam said.
"We were surprised to find the accusation modified in the file that was referred to the court," he added.
Ibrahim had filed two other cases at the administrative court against referring her as a civilian to a military court, and against the military for adopting the practice of forced virginity tests.
On Dec. 27, 2011, the Administrative Court ruled in Ibrahim’s favor and ordered a ban on the practice inside military prisons.
The court obliged SCAF to execute the court order.
Yet, the Head of Military Judiciary General Adel El-Morsi said the court order cannot be implemented since the bylaws of the military prison do not include conducting virginity tests in military prisons in the first place.
Even though several members of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had initially denied conducting the test on these women, Major General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, head of Egypt’s military intelligence, reportedly admitted the practice to Amnesty International last June.
El-Sisi said it was a preemptive self-defense procedure against potential rape allegations.