Women accuse Egyptian military of sexual assault
A military official said there have been no formal complaints of such abuses, declining further comment. He also said Kamal remained under investigation, implying she could still face charges of assaulting military personnel and disrupting public order.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.
Activists charge that the military has resorted to the abusive practices of deposed leader Hosni Mubarak's rule, which were largely behind last year's popular uprising that toppled him. There was outrage last year over "virginity tests" performed by a military doctor on female detainees.
The military admitted that there were such cases but claimed commanders had not approved them. A military doctor put on trial over the tests was acquitted. A civilian court asked the military to stop the practice.
Repeated allegations of sexual abuse have toughened the attitudes of protesters demanding that the military give up power immediately.
A recent target of the frequent protests since Mubarak stepped down 15 months ago has been the Defense Ministry, headquarters of the military command.
Last Friday, several thousand demonstrators converged on the complex, and some started cutting through the barbed wire the military strung to keep them away, while others pelted troops with rocks. Soldiers reacted swiftly, beating demonstrators with clubs, firing gunshots and arresting hundreds. A soldier was killed in the melee.
The detainees face military prosecution and trial, though that practice has been harshly criticized by rights groups.
The sexual assault allegations add to the tensions. Protesters see the tactics as attempts to intimidate women and keep them away from demonstrations.
The incendiary charges come before the first round of Egypt's crucial presidential election on May 23-24. A runoff between two leading candidates is likely June 16-17. A winner will be declared June 21, the final step before the military is due to hand over power.
A leading candidate, moderate Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, lashed out at the military Tuesday, calling the arrests "arbitrary" and the abuses an "affront to human dignity and a disregard of laws and traditions."
"It is an insult to the established military tradition in the minds of Egyptians," he said in a statement posted on his Facebook group.
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