CAIRO: Nearly one-year on since Samira Ibrahim was subjected to a “virginity test” by Egypt’s military junta, she returns to court on Sunday morning, hoping it will see the end to the legal battle.
Ibrahim told Bikyamasr.com that there will a few surprises when the court meets at the Cairo court trying the case.
“I have surprise witnesses to appear in court on Sunday, which are two of the 9 girls involved in the case and who will affirm the tests,” she said.
Ibrahim added that she is pushing forward “so no other girls are subjected to this kind of torture and violence in Egypt.”
She also said that a new lawsuit has been brought against her, accusing her of “destruction of public property” and other charges. Ibrahim said she had only recently received the legal notification and she and her lawyer were looking into the matter.
During the last session of the case, two female prison guards gave their testimonies, saying that the tests were in fact merely a question of “who is married and who is a virgin.”
The women said it was out of “medical concern” for the arrested women in case one of them was “pregnant.”
They said the doctor never ordered any woman to take off her clothes, instead they asked them verbally who was and wasn’t a virgin, and asked them to stand in two lines, one for those who are and one for those who are not.
Ibrahim, the only woman out of the dozen who were arrested and subjected to the virginity tests is the plaintiff in the case.
A military judge has called on the media to not cover or report on the case, saying it gives Egypt “a bad name.”
Her case has embroiled activists, especially young women in the country, who have turned to politics in greater number. For Hamda, a 27-year-old doctor from Aswan, in Cairo for meetings at the Doctor’s Syndicate, Ibrahim is a symbol of Egypt’s revolution.
“She gave me the strength to fight and battle for what is right,” the young woman told Bikyamasr.com on Monday morning. “We are all Samira because we women have tough life in Egypt.”
Ibrahim filed a lawsuit against the doctor, who works at a military facility, and has accused him of forcing her to undergo a virginity test last March, when she and other female protesters were arrested in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during a sit-in and taken to a facility.
The women were forced, in front of dozens of other soldiers, to take down their pants and allow a doctor to examine them. When Ibrahim asked for the procedure to be done in private, she was assaulted, Ibrahim said.
The military court has been charged the doctor of committing a “crime against modesty,” and “negligence of the obedience of the military orders.”
Rights groups have told Bikyamasr.com that by using these charges, it eases the crimes from felony by physical assault to indecent misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of no more than one year.
Local groups have condemned the continued protection of the leaders and members of the armed forces from any accountability for crimes committed against civilians.
Ibrahim told Bikyamasr.com that no women’s group has come forward to offer her and the other girls subjected to the tests assistance.