On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the association of Al-Aqrab prisoners’ families and five human rights organisations released a statement Tuesday detailing their documentation of incidents between Egyptian woman and security forces and the state, since the ouster of the Mohamed Morsi .
The statement highlighted that 56 women and girls are currently detained in various prisons across Egypt, and approximately 2,000 women have faced difficulties, related to their gender, during various political events over the past two years. Twenty-four women have faced military courts, despite this violating legal and constitutional standards, and four girls were enforcedly disappeared by security forces.
The five NGOs that signed the statement are the Hisham Mubarak Centre, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, the Arab Media Freedom Monitor, the Foundation for the Defence of Oppressed People, and the Egyptian Centre against Enforced Disappearance.
The recent cases of detention indicate a development in violence against women by the security apparatus; several women were arrested in a brutal manner from their homes and many others were taken as hostages to pressure their relatives to surrender or give information, according to the statement.
The statement also discussed the Egyptian woman’s status within her family, referring to a document from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) which indicates that “divorce cases occurs every six minutes”, and also noted that, according to other studies, divorce rates have increased dramatically in the past year.
The statement concluded by calling on the prosecutor general to announce the results of its investigations on the death of prominent female victims of violence, including Shiamaa Al-Sabbagh, Sondas Bakr, Hala Abu Shaishaa, Asmaa Al-Baltagi and Habeba Abdel Aziz, all of whom were killed during various political events over the past two years.
Similarly, on International Women’s Day, activists called on the state to release all female detainees, including the prominent Egyptian political activist and lawyer Mahienour El-Massry, and to cease referring women to military courts, as well as calling on security forces and the state to stop violence against women.
Social media users posted stories about female activists, calling for their release; as well as calling for the release of investigation results of martyrs’ cases. Another story was widely-circulated about the so-called virginity tests performed on 17 Egyptian women on 9 March 2011 following a dispersal of a Tahrir square sit-in.
Despite a lawsuit being filed by Samira Ibrahim and Rasha Abdel Rahman, on behalf of the 17 women in the virginity tests case, the accused military officer in the case was acquitted in March 2012.