Public opinion in Egypt was shocked by female activists appearing on television to tell horrifying stories of being raped and sexually harassed by thugs near Tahrir Square. Egyptians were equally horrified by scenes of a naked man being dragged along on the ground and kicked by policemen. This is added to opposition activists Mohammad al-Jundi’s death on Sunday from wounds sustained as a result of brutal torture in a police camp, according to his family. Such news, which are successively reaching the Egyptian people, is undermining any hope of achieving the objectives of the January 25 revolution under the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule.
Female activists Yasmine al-Barmawi and Hania Mahib appeared on TV and shed light on an issue that had long been kept hidden, namely about girls being kidnapped from Tahrir Square and brutally raped in a seemingly methodical manner.
Barmawi recounted how thugs gathered around her on Tahrir Square and shredded her clothes with knives. They threatened some youths who tried to save her with weapons and put her on the bonnet of a car they used to drive across various escape routes until some inhabitants of the Abidin area near Tahrir Square managed to save her from this 70-minute torture trip.
Barmawi showed her shredded clothes, saying that her body was cut in several places by sharp weapons. This story is greatly similar to others that reached the National Council for Women about girls being forcefully led away under the threat of weapons and raped collectively near Tahrir Square before thugs shred their bodies with knives. Such actions seem to aim at intimidation rather than mere harassment.
Media reports mentioned dozens of similar cases, thus leading activists to accuse the ruling power of staging these attacks in order to scare women protesting in Tahrir Square after Islamists dubbed it “Harassment Square.”
Amro Moussa, a leading figure in the opposition’ Salvation Front, alluded to this hypothesis in a Facebook post in which he wrote: “Harassing Egypt’s women and girls is an insult to all of Egypt and an aggression on its male and female revolutionaries. I call on the revolutionaries to take heed of this suspicious development and protect the revolution and Egypt against distortion conspiracies and material/moral terror.”
Islamists sought to mitigate the shock resulting from the scenes that showed Hamada Saber being dragged along on the ground naked by the police outside the presidential palace and kicked by soldiers. They claimed that the media is focusing on everything detrimental to the regime while overlooking negative facts about the revolutionaries and Tahrir Square, the most dangerous of which is about girls being raped there.
Egyptians then woke up one day with news that created precedent since the January 25 revolution, as Popular Movement activist Mohammad al-Jundi, who had disappeared days before while taking part in a protest commemorating the revolution, was found “clinically dead” in a state hospital, bearing traces of beatings and torture. His family accused the police of having kidnapped him near Tahrir Square, of detaining him in a Central Security camp and of torturing him to death before delivering him to the said hospital.
The medical report for 20-year-old Jundi mentioned that he was subjected to electric shocks to his tongue and back, and hit with blunt objects on his abdomen and back. Traces of wires were found in his lungs, thus indicating brutal torture. His death prompted the presidency to interfere and request the attorney general to keep it informed of the ongoing investigations into Jundi’s death.