Egyptian woman alleges rape by police on TV

Alleged rape victim appearing on Modern Misr TV channel The alleged rape victim was upset by press coverage following her TV appearance

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Human rights activists in Egypt have expressed concern following allegations that a woman was raped by two police officers.

She took the unusual step of appearing on television to give an interview about her ordeal.

The woman claims that the rape took place on a deserted rural road in the Nile Delta, north of Cairo.

She said that police have opened an investigation after she reported it.

The woman was shown dressed head to toe in black, wearing the niqab, or full face, veil while describing the events leading up to the alleged incident.

Start Quote

I took this risk to convey a true picture to the officials. They must understand what the policemen are doing to the people”

End Quote Alleged rape victim

"I took a big risk for my reputation to say what I reluctantly have to say, to protect any girl or woman who may go through what I had to, and to protect any woman who may trust a police van," the woman told the private Modern Misr TV channel.

"I tell them now, if you see a police car, you will have to be very cautious."

"I took this risk to convey a true picture to the officials. They must understand what the policemen are doing to the people," she added. "Until now I can neither understand nor fully grasp that these people were policemen."

At some points during the interview she appeared to struggle to hold back tears as she clutched a paper handkerchief.

Even though her identity was not disclosed by the broadcaster, the BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi says this was a very daring thing for a woman to do in a conservative society.

'Sensational coverage'

The footage has attracted tens-of-thousands of viewers on YouTube. Independent newspapers in Egypt have also picked up the story.

Members of Egyptian human rights organisations say they are trying to get more information from the woman. However she is said to have been upset by some of the coverage.

"The problem in this and similar cases is how to find this delicate balance between exposing the crime and at the same time maintaining the dignity of the victim, who is sometimes doubly traumatised by the sensationalisation of the story," says Aida Seif El-Dawla of the El-Nadim Centre for Victims of Violence in Cairo.

The rape allegation is the latest in a series of accusations against the Egyptian police.

Last month two police officers appeared in court charged with excessive use of force as they tried to arrest a 28-year-old man.

Khaled Said died in police custody in Alexandria in June. The case has caused outrage at home and abroad.

Witnesses say Mr Said died after he was dragged out of an internet cafe and beaten up. The Ministry of Interior says he swallowed a packet of drugs and choked.

Officials reject complaints of a culture of impunity in the Egyptian security services and say that those suspected of wrongdoing are put on trial.

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