Human Rights Organisations Challenge the Referral of a Young Woman to Military Court

Press Release

5 July 2011

The Nadim Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre today filed a lawsuit before the Court of Administrative Justice against the head of the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces and others, challenging the referral of a young girl to the military court. Suit no. 42940/65 says that the petitioner was 'subjected to the worst forms of humiliation and torture' and that 'the sanctity of her body was violated by a virginity test, which happened within sight and hearing of staff at the military prison during the period of her imprisonment from the 9th to the 11th March 2011.' Furthermore, 'When she went to the military public prosecutor as a plaintiff she found out, to her surprise, that she had been referred to the East Cairo Military Court for Military Felonies in case no. 246 of 2011. A sentence was handed down by this court without any guarantees of a fair trial or of the right of the accused to due judicial process. The petitioner did not know the nature of the charges against her and, subsequently, her defence could not perform its role.'

On 9 March, 171 people were arrested in Tahrir Square, among them 17 women, and were referred to a military court. Sentences against them from the Court of Military Felonies were issued after only four days. A number of the women arrested were subjected to virginity examinations in the military prisons, among them the petitioner, a violation of the sanctity of their bodies. On 23rd June 2011 the petitioner submitted a complaint to the military public prosecutor (no. 386/administrative/military prosecutions/East Cairo) on the violations that she and others underwent during their time in the military prison.

Military officials had first denied such allegations, and then ordered an investigation into the matter. The results of the investigations have not yet been made public.