Impunity in Egypt Continues As “Virginity Test” Doctor Acquitted

Press release
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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) denounces another illustration of the impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations in Egypt since the revolution. On Sunday 11 March, 2012, the military court acquitted the army doctor, Ahmed Adel, of charges of “public obscenity and neglect to obey military orders” in relation to allegations that he conducted “virginity tests” on 7 protesters on 9 March 2011.

On 9 March 2011, military forces stormed Tahir Square and arrested dozens of protesters including 17 women protesters. They transported them to the Egyptian museum where they were detained, given electric shocks and severely beaten. 7 of them, including Samira Ibrahim, claim that they were forced to undergo “virginity tests” conducted by Adel. Several members of the military, including General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, subsequently publicly admitted the conduct of virginity tests, justifying their use as a means to protect the army from allegations of rape by detainees. Ibrahim and other victims lodged legal complaints. In December 2011, the State Council Court ruled in favor of Ibrahim and banned the use of such tests.

However, proceedings before the Military Court were marked by irregularities. According to Ibrahim’s lawyer, Adel Ramadan, from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), interviewed by FIDH, no official reasons for acquitting Ahmed Adel were given by the Court. Furthermore, according to Ramadan, the judge refused to hear Ibrahim’s lawyers in the final session, and ordered any interventions to be presented as written submissions. The Court also refused to accept evidence including the testimonies of employees present at the military prison at the time where the tests occurred and the registration book clarifying the officials on duty and their designated responsibility. According to the complainant’s lawyer, the court focused on trivial details such as the name and physical description of one of the female workers present at the time, rather than the composite elements of the crime.

FIDH underlines that since there is no possibility of appealing a decision of the Military Court, the military justice system does not guarantee the rights of civilian victims to justice or reparation.

FIDH condemns the continued impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations, underlining that since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) assumed power on 11 February, several incidents of gross human rights violations involving security and army personnel have not been promptly or independently investigated or prosecuted. FIDH reiterates its call to the SCAF to live up to its promises of accountability for violations perpetrated by army personnel.

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