'Virginity Checks' Done On Some Female Protesters, Egyptian General Says

May 31, 2011

After more than a month of denials, an Egyptian Army general has told CNN that some female protesters were forced after a March 9 confrontation with soldiers to undergo "virginity checks."

And March 9 was almost a month after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

Amnesty International reported back on March 23 that:

"After army officers violently cleared [Cairo's Tahrir] square of protesters on 9 March, at least 18 women were held in military detention. Amnesty International has been told by women protesters that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to 'virginity checks' and threatened with prostitution charges."

Since that report, Egyptian authorities have denied the accusations. But CNN says that this week "a senior general who asked not to be identified said the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice."

It adds that "the general said the virginity checks were done so that the women wouldn't later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.