An Egyptian prosecutor has ordered a virginity test on a woman who was allegedly involved in an “indecent act” with an Islamist parliamentarian, local media reported on Wednesday, in a decision that has reminded many of the widely-controversial case against the practice earlier this year.
The 19-year-old university student, identified as Nesrine, was summoned for questioning after she was reportedly caught performing an indecent act with MP Ali Wanis on Thursday night in a private car on a Cairo-Alexandria highway.
Wanis, who is a member of the ultraconservative Salafi Nour Party, has denied news reports of an “indecent act” and alleged that Nesrine was his fiancé and that she was sick and he was helping her wash her face.
“Indecent act” is the term given by Egyptian police to any act involving sexual activities.
The Salafi MP has until now escaped questioning due to the parliamentary immunity he is entitled to.
Nesrine, however, has been detained for four days under orders by the prosecutor, Egypt-based online news site Bikya Masr reported, and is pending a “test to determine if she is a virgin or not.”
The prosecutor will also carry out a “background search” on the19-year-old to determine if she has a criminal record, the website reported.
In December, an Egyptian court ordered a halt to virginity tests on female detainees in military prisons.
Earlier this year, Egypt was embroiled in a scandalous dispute over virginity tests when prominent female activists spoke out for the many women who had undergone the “test” after they had been detained during protests last year.
The controversy reached its peak when a military court in March acquitted a doctor who had been accused of forcing female protesters to undergo virginity tests, despite mass demonstrations against the practice, which Amnesty International decried as a “degrading form of abuse.”
“The Egyptian authorities must condemn these discriminatory, abusive and insulting attitudes which have been used to justify torture of women protesters, and which are clearly present at the highest levels,” Amnesty said in a statement in December.
Last week, Egyptian parliament had said it would lift Wanis’ immunity for investigations surrounding this particular case, but the move is yet to be announced.
(Written by Eman El-Shenawi)