Human rights council to back lawsuits by virginity test plaintiffs

The woman's commission at Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) on Thursday decided to join a lawsuits filed by female protesters who were subjected to virginity tests while in military custody.

The commission urged the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to declare the results of trials for army officers suspected in the crime.

Nine months ago, seven young women were forced to undergo “virginity tests” while in military detention after being arrested with 174 protesters in Tahrir Square on 9 March. One victim, Samira Ibrahim, filed a lawsuit against the military for conducting the test, which many local and international human rights groups said amounted to torture and sexual assault.

An administrative court ruled Tuesday that virginity tests on women in military custody are illegal.

A statement by the NCHR, which followed a meeting chaired by council member Mervat al-Telawi, voiced support for the plaintiffs' cause. It denounced all forms of violence or sexual abuses against women, saying they represent an insult to the dignity of all Egyptians.

The statement called upon the SCAF to issue decisions and directives that ensure women are not subject to such abuses while practicing their right to peaceful protests.

Attendants at the NCHR meeting agreed to create a forum, comprising prominent intellectuals and politicians of both sexes, for the support of women's issues. They also plan to form a task force of senior legal experts to discuss women's rights in the new constitution.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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