Egypt's 'Virginity tests' trial postponed to 11 March

Ahram Online , Sunday 26 Feb 2012

Court hears fresh testimony from chief plaintiff on Sunday as defence points to conflicting statements; final verdict in case expected March

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Samira Ibrahim (Photo: Ahram)

A new development took place on Sunday in Egypt’s ongoing "virginity test" case, with plaintiff Rasha Abdel Rahman providing new names of who was responsible for, and additional details about, the mistreatment she suffered. 

The trial, meanwhile, has been postponed to 11 March, when a final verdict is expected.

After military personnel dispersed a sit-in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 9 March, 2011, a number of female detainees were subjected to torture, including the use of arbitrary “virginity tests.”

Army physician Ahmed Adel is being currently prosecuted for practicing the controversial test on a number of female political activists, including Abdel Rahman and Samira Ibrahim.

The defendants’ lawyers, for their part, said that Abdel Rahman’s statements conflicted with those of Ibrahim, who was the first of seven women to formally file charges.

The case triggered an outcry among human rights organisations, both in Egypt and abroad, who describe the tests as blatant violations of human rights.

In December 2011, Egypt's Administrative Court issued a ruling in Ibrahim's favour, legally banning the practice of conducting virginity tests on female detainees.     

Prosecutors and witnesses have both expressed dissatisfaction with progress made in the case, noting that some evidence produced had revealed that victims had only been asked about their virginity and had not, in fact, been subject to testing.

On 7 February, two prison wardens summoned to deliver testimony denied that the incident had ever taken place. The two claimed that the women in question had only been asked by army personnel if they were married and whether or not they were pregnant.

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