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Egypt denies claims female detainees were sexually abused

Delegates at a meeting of Amnesty International hold up masks depicting ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti wearing a gas mask in protest against the ongoing violence as well as sexual violence against women in Egypt on August 19, 2013 in Berlin, Germany [Sean Gallup/Getty Images]
Delegates at a meeting of Amnesty International hold up masks depicting ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti wearing a gas mask in protest against the ongoing violence as well as sexual violence against women in Egypt on August 19, 2013 in Berlin, Germany [Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

Egypt on Friday denied claims contained in a New York Times report earlier this month that women who come in contact with the country's criminal justice system risk sexual abuse during searches by state agencies and individuals, the paper reported.

The New York Times report. published on 5 July, contained testimonies of dozens of women who claimed to have been sexually abused by Egyptian officials in police stations, prisons, and hospitals, adding that experts believe the anecdotal evidence suggested that such incidents occur frequently.

However, on Friday, the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior which oversees the police and prisons denied "the validity" of the women's accusations, saying they were part of an effort "to spread rumours and lies."

READ: Release Egypt mother who was detained for complaining about son's sexual abuse

The statement added that accusations of "systemic physical violations" against female detainees were false.

However, the statement did not specify the security source who denied the accusations, nor did it clarify whether there had been an investigation into the women's allegations.

The Egyptian government also did not respond to a request from the New York Times for more information.

The paper said the women stand by their stories, which are consistent with years of complaints of sexual abuse of women by the police and other justice officials.

A police officer quoted in the article said that sexual abuse of women by legal authorities was "everywhere", and that the aim was not to gather evidence but to "humiliate your humanity."

Sexual Harassment – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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