Sunday, June 04, 2006
Sexual Abuse of Egyptian Protestors
"Mohamed El-Sharqawi, [Left] a 24- year-old political activist, ... says that while he was in police custody he was systematically tortured and sodomised."
The Egyptian security forces' use of sexual abuse became news when they attacked women journalists and protestors in public, tearing their clothes, and molesting them in broad daylight. Instead of cowering in shame, some of the women fought back. And that made all the difference. Now, some men are coming out in public to expose how they've been sodomized by their interrogators. This article in Arabic asks that the file of sexual abuse of detainees be opened.
One of the things the article mentions is that raping male prisoners was not uncommon in the 1990s against Islamist activists. Alaa Al Aswani's novel The Yacoubian Building, which has been made into a movie of the same name and has been a best seller in Egypt, deals with this issue. One of the characters with some Islamic sympathies is sodomized during an interrogation. As a result he becomes more militant, trains in military camp, and is determined to avenge his honor against the police officer who tortured him.
As hard it is for women to go public about sexual abuse, it is even harder for men. But without going public, the torturers will not stop.