Female detainees recently arrested at Alexandria protests have denied being abused or forced to take pregnancy tests, according to Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) spokesperson Nada Kabbary.
Former Muslim Brotherhood leader and manager of Victims Centre for Human Rights Haitham Abu Khalil had claimed last week that the Alexandria detainees had had pregnancy tests forced on them. “Last Thursday there was a conference for the parents of the detainees and they said no pregnancy test took place,” he said. “I am not sure if they are being discreet about it or it hasn’t actually happened.” He added that his allegations stemmed from a parent of detained women who made the claim during a TV interview on Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr.
However, AFTE lawyer in Alexandria Ahmed Shazli said he had investigated Abu Khalil’s allegations, offering the families of the detainees the services of a female lawyer to ensure no such tests were conducted on the young women, but they had refused.
Ministry of Interior Spokesman Hany Abdel Latif last week also denied the use of such tests. “These are all false allegations; there is no such thing as forced pregnancy tests,” he said. “The police force performs its duty according to the law, and anyone who has any proof of otherwise should present it to the prosecutor general.”
On Thursday 31 October, a group of 21 women and one man were arrested by security forces in Alexandria for “blocking the road”. The activists belong to a group called the “7 am Movement”, which organises peaceful protests before the beginning of the school day against the 3 July military-backed ousting of former President Morsi. The group, which started in Alexandria, has spreader to Greater Cairo and launched a campaign with the name “Our girls are a red line” to call for the release of the 22 detainees.
AFTE and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) issued a joint statement condemning the arrest, describing it as “a step backward” and “a return to the violations prior to the 25 January Revolution.”
Seven of the girls were moved to Al-Defaa orphanage in Moharam Bek while the other 14 were detained in Al-Abaadeya prison in Damanhour. The boy who was arrested with the girls was released after he was determined to be a bystander uninvolved with any of the protests.
On Friday, The Anti Coup Alliance launched a million man march in protest of “vindictive violations” against women.