July 5, 2011 / 5:39 PM / in 6 years

Egypt army head sued over female's military trial

CAIRO, July 5 (Reuters) - Three rights groups sued the head of Egypt’s armed forces on Tuesday for trying a female in a military court and said she was tortured and forced to undergo a virginity test.

The female, whose age was not specified, was one of 17 female protesters rounded up on March 9 when the army cleared demonstrators from Tahrir Square in Cairo, epicentre of the protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

The rights groups said the female was tried before the military court without knowing what charges she was facing. All the female protesters were sentenced within four days of their detention, they said.

The girl “was exposed to the worst kinds of humiliation, torture and violation to the sanctity of her body to the extent of inspecting her virginity within view and earshot of army prison workers”, the groups said in a statement that did not give her name or age.

The case against the head of the armed forces and other unnamed individuals was filed with an administrative court by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture and the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre.

Amnesty International gathered statements from some of the women who spoke of virginity tests, beatings, electric shocks and strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers.

A high-ranking Egyptian military official denied in June comments carried by CNN from an army general who confirmed virginity tests wer carried out on detained female protesters. The army also denies mistreating detained protesters.

It won praise for steering the country through the political crisis caused by the overthrow of Mubarak, but reports of the abuse of protesters have tarnished its image and spurred fresh demonstrations.

Rights campaigners say the army has put thousands of civilians through military trials since it took power following the overthrow of Mubarak.

Amnesty says the trials, conducted in private, are unfair, break international law and corrode the criminal justice system. (Reporting by Sarah Mikhail; editing by Robert Woodward)

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