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Report: Brotherhood Paying Gangs to Rape Women, Beat Men at Egyptian Protests

Mon, December 3, 2012

Anti-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square have accused Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, of paying thugs to sexually assault women and beat up men who are taking part in the protests.

The Daily Mail reports that anti-Morsi activists have noted that close to 20 such attacks have been recorded during the last 10 days of protests, and since the takeover of the Muslim Brotherhood, sexual attacks on women by mobs of men have dramatically increased.

Activists report that most of the attacks take place in one particular corner of the square and at approximately the same time every evening. The attack usually begins with a group of men making a human chain around a woman as if to protect her.

Yasmine, a protestor quoted by the Times, related how it had happened to her. She had been protesting in the square when she saw all of a sudden about 50 men surrounding her. The only thing she had time to do before the brutal attack began was to throw her camera to a friend who recorded the assault.

She was stripped of her clothes – including her headscarf, which was taken off first – and raped by men’s hands for nearly an hour. Men who tried to help her were beaten. The internal injuries she suffered were horrific.

The same day, four of Yasmine’s friends suffered similar assaults.  

Yasmine also said it was almost certain that the attack was planned. “Just before the attack it looks like men are getting into position. They look like they're up to something, they don't look like random protestors,” she told the Times.

The Times also reported that spoke to men who admitted they were paid to assault female protestors. Two of the attackers told the paper that they were paid between $16 and $32 for each assault. Although they refused to reveal who was paying them, the two attackers said there were about 65 paid attackers in the group.

“We're told to go out and sexually harass girls so they leave the demonstration,” one was quoted as saying, adding that his job was to disrupt the anti-Morsi demonstrations and instill fear in the protestors. Sometimes other men join in as well, he said. 

Magda Adly, the director of the Nadeem Centre for Human Rights, said that the same tactics were used under former President Hosni Mubarak, adding that “the Muslim Brotherhood have the same political approaches as Mubarak.”

Afaf el-Sayed, a journalist and activist, told the Times she was also assaulted by a group of men while protesting in Tahrir Square just over a month ago. She is certain her attackers were “thugs from the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The protestors are furious with Morsi for usurping the powers of the judicial branch of the government in his recent decree which serves to consolidate Morsi’s absolute power of all branches of the government.

In addition, Morsi intends to push through a draft constitution before the courts try to dissolve the Islamist parliament early in the week.

Liberal, secular and Christian members of the council charged with drafting the Constitution quit early in the process amid complaints that Islamists had hijacked the council illegally.

ClarionProject.org has reported extensively about the problem of  sexual assault of women in Egypt, including the horrific assault of CBS News chief foreign correspondent Laura Logan in Tahrir Square in February of 2011 by those celebrating Morsi’s victory.