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Egypt: Student reveals she was sexually harassed in police custody

An Egyptian female student who has recently been released from prison said she was subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of the security personnel.

Ayat Hamada, who had been arrested over her participation in a protest at Al-Azhar University, said in a press conference held in a rights centre in Cairo on Monday that security officers arrested her while she was on campus chanting against the detention of female students. The conference was broadcast on online newspaper Rassd's Youtube channel.

On the day of her arrest, Hamada was dragged to a security vehicle. "Security personnel held me from all parts [of my body]," she said.

She added that the officer brought her handbag, which she had dropped during the arrest and put cartridge in it then accused her of carrying ammunition.

"How would I have entered the university campus with ammunition in my bag given that students go through several security checks and get thoroughly searched?" she asked.

Hamada said that the officer in the police station threatened to sexually attack her if she contacted her family to tell them about what she was going through.

She spoke about her journey from the police station to the jail and how she was crammed in to a vehicle that could accommodate five people with 14 female students.

When she and the other female students arrived at the jail, they found male students who were being subjected to what is commonly known as "tashrifa", a wave of torture that detainees face once they arrive at the prison.

She noted that the security personnel undressed the male detainees in front of the females then beat them with sticks and belts. They harassed every female student who objected to the torture of the males.

Hamada said she was threatened with rape and being subjected to a virginity test.

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