HRW slams Egypt military violence against women

Ahram Online, Sunday 8 Apr 2012

Human Rights Watch criticises acquittal of military doctor accused of subjecting women to 'virginity tests', says military courts lack independent to hold military accountable for human rights abuses

Human Rights Watch released a report on Saturday condemning military violence against women and demanding an end to military impunity.

"The March 11 acquittal of the only military officer charged in the 'virginity tests' trial is a blow for any hopes of accountability for the abuses women have experienced at the hands of the Egyptian military over the past year," said the report.

The report, which details the case of Samira Ibrahim – one of several women who have been subjected to "virginity tests" during their detention by the military, stated that the military cannot be held accountable for human rights violations by military judges who are not independent of the subjects they are investigating.

"All military judges and prosecutors are serving members of the military, subject to the military hierarchy, selected by the head of the military justice system, and appointed by the defences minister," stated the report, concluding that such a judiciary does not have the necessary independence to prosecute military abuses.

On 11 March, a military court acquitted Dr Ahmed Adel El-Mogy, accused of carrying out "virginity tests" on seven women. Ibrahim is the only one who has publicly given an account of the abuse she suffered.

The virginity test allegations first surfaced after military personnel and plainclothes men dispersed a sit-in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 9 March 2011. A number of female detainees were subsequently tortured and subjected to “virginity tests.”

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