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Victory for Egyptian Women: Military's 'Virginity Tests' Banned

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  • Egypt woman
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Egyptian army soldiers (captured on video and photos) are shown beating a young woman in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Saturday. The image has been used as a rallying point for women demonstrators protesting Egypt's military council that currently has presidential power, Dec. 17, 2011.
  • women protesting
    Reuters
    women gather to protest the military's 'virginity tests' on female detainees
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By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
December 27, 2011|4:31 pm

An Egyptian court ordered Tuesday that the ruling military council stop “virginity testing” on female detainees.

The ruling comes after the court case of female protester Samira Ibrahim, who sued the country’s military for forcing the invasive test after she was detained during Tahrir Square’s March protests.

“The court orders that the execution of the procedure of virginity tests on girls inside military prisons be stopped,” Head of the Cairo Administrative Court Judge Ali Fekri announced Tuesday.

According to BBC News, human rights organizations accuse Egypt’s military as using the “virginity tests” as a method of punishment.

In June, the country's military pledged to human rights watchdog Amnesty International to stop the virginity tests, although it defended itself in saying the tests were done to ensure the soldiers’ protection from rape charges.

“The Major General's comments must translate into unequivocal instructions to army staff that women are never forced to undergo this treatment again in Egypt," said Amnesty International.

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"Subjecting women to such degrading procedures hoping to show that they were not raped in detention makes no sense, and was nothing less than torture. The government should now provide reparation to the victims, including medical and psychological support, and apologize to them for their treatment,” Amnesty International added.

The repeal of the “virginity test” practice serves as a great boon for Egypt’s female population, which has been in especial upheaval the past few weeks.

Over a week ago, a YouTube video showed soldiers brutally beating and dragging a half-naked female protester by her hair. The protester was one of thousands urging the swift replacement of the ruling military council with a democratic government.

On Friday, thousands took to the streets to protest the cruel injustice inflicted on Egypt’s women, chanting “Women of Egypt are a red line.”

Heba Morayef, an Egypt researcher at the Human Rights Watch, told the Associated Press that Ibrahim’s trial is important because “it is the first time a civilian court acknowledged and criticized abuse by the military.”

"Justice has been served today," Samira 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," she added.

 

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