'Virginity tests' trial moves forward

Feb. 8, 2012 at 11:16 PM
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CAIRO, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Two female guards say a doctor who allegedly performed "virginity tests" on female detainees in Egypt was just trying to make sure they were not pregnant.

The women testified Tuesday, denying the allegations of abuse and humiliation made by Samira Ibrahim, Bikyamasr.com reported. She says that when she was arrested in March last year she and other women were subjected to a painful and humiliating check on their private parts while male soldiers watched.

On Wednesday, the head of Egypt's military court system urged the news media not to cover the next session of the trial Monday. He said Ibrahim's allegations have "caused controversy" in Egypt.

The doctor has been charged with "an offense against modesty" and neglecting to follow orders. Human rights groups say that means he faces only misdemeanors.

No other detainees have come forward to support Ibrahim's charges. But some Egyptian women say she has become an inspiration to them.

"She gave me the strength to fight and battle for what is right," a doctor from Aswan in Cairo for a medical convention told Bikyamasr.com Monday. "We are all Samira because we women have tough life in Egypt."

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