Samira victorious: Egyptian military to end 'virginity tests'

Samira Ibrahim, a 25-year-old Egyptian suing the military for allegedly subjecting her to an invasive "virginity test" stands in front of graffiti celebrating her efforts in Cairo, November 2011.
Amina Ismail

Nine months after Egyptian soldiers forced her to strip down and undergo a "virginity test" that has been described as medieval, Samira Ibrahim has won her case against the military as an Egyptian court banned the practice Tuesday.

GlobalPost has reported extensively on Samira's case since October, when 'Covering a Revolution' fellows published an in-depth report from Cairo as part of a Special Report entitled "Tahrir Square." It had appeared highly unlikely that Samira would prevail, and when the court postponed her case in late November, she took it as a calculated tactic on the part of the state.

“The state will keep dragging this out,” she said then. “They want me to give up and drop the case.”

Human rights groups and concerned parties around the world rallied around Samira, but there was a lingering sense that the story was being undercovered by the international press and that Samira was an underdog to win.

"I know the odds are against me," Samira said during the agonizing weeks leading up the ruling, when she was losing weight as she battled with nerves.

But instead the court sided with Samira, just days after security forces stomped, beat and publicly exposed women — including the "girl in the blue bra" — in and around Tahrir Square.

Human rights activist Hossam Bahgat said the ruling is a "crack in the wall of impunity the (military rulers) have built around their personnel and their conduct."

Samira was also featured in Elizabeth D. Herman's "Women of the Revolution" photo series along with 12 other women who stood up against Egypt's ruling forces both during Hosni Mubarak's reign and the following months of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) rule. 

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