Amnesty slams Egypt for forced ‘virginity tests’

London — Amnesty International on Wednesday condemned the 'shocking' treatment of women protesters in Egypt after serious allegations that the army subjected them to torture and forced 'virginity tests.'

The London-based rights group said that army officers violently cleared Cairo's Tahrir Square, the focus of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to resign last month, and held at least 18 women in military detention.

Women protesters said they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to 'virginity checks' and threatened with prostitution charges, Amnesty said. 'The Egyptian authorities must halt the shocking and degrading treatment of women protesters,' the rights group demanded.

'All security and army forces must be clearly instructed that torture and other ill-treatment, including forced 'virginity tests', will no longer be tolerated, and will be fully investigated.

'Those found responsible for such acts must be brought to justice and the courageous women who denounced such abuses be protected from reprisals.' Amnesty condemned forced virginity tests as 'utterly unacceptable' and intended to 'degrade women.'

Amnesty said the 18 women were initially taken to a Cairo Museum annex where they were reportedly handcuffed, beaten with sticks and hoses, given electric shocks in the chest and legs, and called 'prostitutes'.

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