Abeer al-Askary Relates Details of Her Indecent Assault Ordeal at the Sayyeda Zeinab Police Station
Thursday, 11 May 2006, will be engraved in the memory of the Egyptian nation, given the extent of violence and terrorism exercised by the Egyptian regime against opponents showing their support for judges in their demand for an independent judiciary. Actions of Egyptian security on that day illustrates the extent of police brutality and violence towards opposition forces. Those assaults did not even spared journalists who were beaten and prevented from carrying out their professional duties.
Let us present here at Ikhwanweb the moving story of a female journalist who had an ample share of the assaults in question and whose case exemplifies the lowliness of the regime which has got used to assaulting women.
Abeer al-Askary, who is a journalist at Al-Dostour newspaper, is a second-time victim of violations committed by security personnel. The violations actually started on Black Wednesday, 25 May 2005, which witnessed the referendum on limited amendments to the Constitution. That day, Abeer was also subjected to police violations. Last May 10, she went out early from home at Maadi, a Cairo suburb, heading to the Judges’ Club (judges’ union) in midtown Cairo to cover the trial of judiciary counselors Makki and Bastaweesy and the demonstrations staged in support of them.
As soon she stepped out of the taxicab at Abdel-Khaleq Tharwat St., she was suddenly surrounded by group of people who put a gag in her mouth and dragged her into a van. Inside the van, they started a punishing session during which they abused and insulted her in the most filthy terms. Then, the van moved in the direction of a police office, Ramses St., where the punishing session continued, without heeding her appeals that she was a journalist.
The only response she received was the continuation of insults and abuses. This, according to Abeer, was followed by beatings and insults. “I was then transferred to the Sayyeda Zeinab police station, where they put me in a room. There, one officer told me they would do to me the same things that they did to Asmaa, Rasha and Nada in the same room” (a reference to indecent assaults by the police on those three women journalists on 25 May 2005).
“He added that I would never see the light again since no one saw me when they arrested me. Then, he said to the plainclothes policemen ‘why don’t you do your duties with her?’, whereupon they started to beat me, tear up my clothes and uncover my body”. According to her, this indecent assault ‘party’ continued till her mobile phone rang, whereupon the policemen immediately snatched it from her bag and turned it off. At the end of a long day, when the siege of midtown Cairo was lifted, the police officer decided to throw her onto the street.
After they threateningly ordered her not to appear in the midtown area again, she said she wanted to take the Metro (the Cairo underground). A police officer told one of his men to accompany her to Corniche street so that she may go back home. She went out with them, but once on their way they beat, insulted her and spat on her extensively. Whenever a passer-by tried to intervene, their response would be “she is a prostitute”. Abeer concludes by saying when she tried to enter one of the shops to protect herself and the shopkeeper gave her something with which to cover herself, the policemen threatened him and forced him to get her out of the shop. She got out and sat behind a power kiosk till her colleagues came and took her in a taxicab to the premises of the newspaper.
It is to be recalled that security forces detained on that day alone some 300 people who were demonstrating in support of pro-reform judges on trial.
“Insults and abuses to Abeer El-Askary“
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