CAIRO, MARCH 23 – Amnesty International has asked the Egyptian authorities to investigate reports of torture, including the obligation to perform a “virginity test”, inflicted by soldiers on women who took part in a protest in Tahrir Square on March 9.

Eighteen women were arrested by soldiers, according to a statement by the international organisation, and claim that they were “beaten, subjected to electric shocks, forced to undress while soldiers took photographs of them and forced to take a “virginity test”, amid threats of being charged with prostitution”.

“Forcing women to take a “virginity test” is completely unacceptable,” Amnesty says, highlighting the case of Rasha Azeb, a journalist arrested in Tahrir Square.

“According to her account, the 18 female protesters arrested were initially taken to a room in the Cairo Museum, where they were handcuffed, hit with sticks and rubber tubes, given electric shocks to their chests and legs and called prostitutes,” Amnesty reports, adding that the journalist was freed a number of hours later, together with four fellow journalists, while the other 17 women were transferred to the El Heikstep military prison.

The 17 women appeared before a military court on March 11 and were released two days later, Amnesty claims, saying that “a number of them were given a one-year suspended prison sentence”.

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