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Journalists sexually assaulted covering Egypt unrest

AFP · 25 Nov 2011, 08:03

Published: 25 Nov 2011 09:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Nov 2011 08:03 GMT+01:00

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Two female foreign journalists, including one working for French TV channel France 3, described harrowing sexual assaults carried out by crowds or police as they tried to cover demonstrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy said she was sexually assaulted by police during hours under detention after taking part in protests on the sprawling square that has become a landmark of the Arab Spring.

"Besides beating me, the dogs of (central security forces) subjected me to the worst sexual assault ever," Eltahawy said on her Twitter account.

"5 or 6 surrounded me, groped and prodded my breasts, grabbed my genital area and I lost count how many hands tried to get into my trousers," she said.

"My left arm and right hand are broken (according) to x-rays," she said, posting pictures of herself in casts.

Earlier Eltahawy, an award-winning journalist and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues based in New York, tweeted that she had been released after having been beaten and arrested in the interior ministry building.

Later, a French journalist working for public television channel France 3, said she had been violently beaten and sexually assaulted while covering the protests.

Caroline Sinz told AFP that she and her cameraman, Salah Agrabi, had been confronted in a road leading from Tahrir to the interior ministry, the scene of days of deadly clashes between police and protesters demanding democratic change.

"We were filming in Mohammed Mahmud street when we were mobbed by young people who were about 14 or 15," said Sinz.

The journalist and her cameraman were then dragged by a group of men towards Tahrir Square where they became separated, she said.

"We were then assaulted by a crowd of men. I was beaten by a group of youngsters and adults who tore my clothes" and then molested her in a way that "would be considered rape," she said.

"Some people tried to help me but failed. I was lynched. It lasted three quarters of an hour before I was taken out. I thought I was going to die," she said. Her cameraman was also beaten.

Sinz was finally rescued by a group of Egyptians and returned to her hotel, where she was assisted by the French embassy before being seen by a doctor.

Media activists from Reporters Without Borders decried working conditions for journalists covering the fresh unrest and upcoming elections in Egypt.

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"The chaos prevailing in Cairo and the resulting grave human rights violations are as bad as in the darkest hours of the revolutions earlier phase, in January and February," the media rights group said in a statement.

In February, CBS News reporter Lara Logan described in detail how she was victim of a sexual assault near Tahrir the same day President Hosni Mubarak fell from power.

Once back in the US, Logan said she was molested for more than 40 minutes by a group of 200 or 300 men.

The latest reports of sexual assault against journalists came as protesters in Tahrir Square continue to demand an end to military rule. At least 38 people have died and over 3,000 have been injured since Saturday when the clashes began.

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Your comments about this article

2011-11-29 03:50:51 by volvoman9
@Skipdallas Ja mon!
2011-11-28 02:09:51 by Skipdallas
When one thinks about the collusion between the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Pakistani government; it begs the question: Why does the United States and the Allies currently involved in Afghanistan, keep pouring money and resources into an obviously hostile country. The ease of material transfer to these areas of contention in Afghanistan is accomplished with relative ease at best by the U.S.A.F. We have the capability of supplying all the material needs of the troops in country. There is something else going on here that we as citizens are being shut out of. I apologize to the multitudes of the faithful of all religions and superstitions. All people should do as they wish, and I will do likewise. However when it comes down to a bunch of cowardly sneaky anarchists killing innocents in the name of a god, I draw the line! You are a pitiful excuse for human beings; you are cowards hiding behind a sham. You are lower than low, you are simpleminded people that get off by supposedly proving your doubtful manhood by killing innocent villagers, and innocent people world-wide not connected to your ideology. That is what your misogynistic Prophet wants you to do! When the oil runs out, and your money faucet runs dry, the whole of the Middle East will slide into a permanent state of anarchy and then oblivion. The only people likely to make money then will be the ammunition suppliers, selling you the bullets so you can once and for all exterminate yourselves at your own expense! Does this sound harsh to you? Well your cowardly terrorists need to realize that you; like the Japanese in World Two: Have awakened a slumbering Giant that will not rest until you are dust. I mentioned the Japanese because at that time in history, that Nation was ruled by an expansionist military cabal. Similar to what is going on in the religious totalitarian mind set of the Taliban and similar so called “religious” groups. Keeping your Women (at least half of your population) as second class citizens is just wrong! Besides, it is stupid. Are you as Men so afraid of your perceived lack of masculinity that you have to bully half of the population? Let your Women contribute to your Nations treasure. To do otherwise just cripples your culture further, and retards the progress that sustains everyone. Build your Nations up. Educate your Women and children; accept the fact that the World at large does not adhere to your twisted take on the Prophets words. We in the West recognize Islam as a good thing. However we will never bow down to terrorism from any source. The people that hide behind the Prophet and use Him as an excuse for chaos are doomed to eventual failure due to their basic misunderstanding of what freedom and choice means to the rest of the World.
2011-11-26 02:17:18 by volvoman9
The behavior of this culture is beyond reprehension. To a westerner it is unfathomable. Yet this is the same treatment that the women and girls of many Muslim and middle eastern countries suffer daily. The female is a possession with little value. However it still stuns me that we send women from the west in any capacity into situations such as this. How may western women will it take or us to realize that our indignation is not enough to change this travesty.
2011-11-26 02:16:57 by volvoman9
The behavior of this culture toward women is beyond reprehension. To a westerner it is unfathomable. Yet it still baffles me that we continue to send women into these situations regardless of their roles or motives expecting a different outcome.
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