A prominent Egyptian-born U.S. columnist said uniformed police sexually assaulted, beat and blindfolded her after she was detained Thursday near Tahrir Square during clashes, leaving her left arm and right hand broken and in casts.
Mona Eltahawy, 44, lives in New York and is a prominent women's rights defender, a lecturer on the role of social media in the Arab world and a former Reuters journalist. Eltahawy describes herself as a liberal Muslim who has spoken publicly in the U.S and other countries against violent Islamic groups, particularly in the wake of 9-11. She is known as a scathing critic of the former Egyptian regime.
Eltahawy arrived in Egypt Wednesday evening and went straight to Tahrir Square, getting close to the front lines of clashes between protesters and the police at the nearby Interior Ministry. She was detained outside the ministry in the early morning hours of Thursday and released about 12 hours later.
"They hit me with their sticks on the arms and head. They sexually assaulted me, groping my breasts and putting their hands between my legs," she told The Associated Press. "For a moment I said 'this is it. No one is around. I am finished.'" As she struggled, shouting: "No! No," her attackers dragged her by her hair from the street to the Interior Ministry, cursing her.