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Amnesty International: Egypt military admits to ‘Virginity tests,’ promises to end practice

Egyptians cast their shadows on a charred bus in Tahrir Square in Cairo. (KHALIL HAMRA)

On March 9, after a violent crackdown on protesters in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, the military detained 17 women and subjected them to “virginity tests.” Three months later, a general in the military finally confirmed these tests had taken place and gave a promise in a meeting with Amnesty International that they would not be conducted again, the human rights organization reported Monday.

Maj. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty that the tests had been carried out on female detainees in March to “protect” the army against possible allegations of rape.

He also said that the tests are given also to women looking to work for the military.

“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 in a statement on the group’s Web site. “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.”

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