Journalist Dina Zakaria Says Dutch Reporter Was Raped In Tahrir Square During Egyptian Protests

Protest In Tahrir Square
Anti-Mursi protesters chant slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Reuters

[UPDATE: 7/2/2013, 9:43 a.m. EST]: The Dutch Embassy in Cairo issued a statement on Monday confirming the attack, saying the victim was a 22-year-old female but not releasing her name. "A Dutch woman of 22 was attacked in Tahrir Square on Friday evening," the statement read. "The Netherlands Embassy has assisted the victim, and after receiving emergency treatment in a Cairo hospital, she was repatriated to the Netherlands in the company of family. The victim has cooperated with an investigation started by the Egyptian authorities. In the interest of the privacy of the victim, no further information will be given."

Egyptian journalist Dina Zakaria said a foreign reporter from the Netherlands was the victim of gang rape in Cairo’s Tahrir Square over the weekend during violent protests.

According to YNetNews.com, the website of right-leaning Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Zakaria wrote on her Facebook page Sunday: "A Dutch journalist in Tahrir was raped by men who dub themselves revolutionists. Her condition is severe and she is hospitalized." The site said a state hospital released an official statement that the journalist, whose name was not revealed, was raped by five men several days prior.

The hospital said the reporter was admitted to a hospital, underwent surgery and has since been released. Talaat Abdallah, Egypt’s Prosecutor General, reportedly sent his staff to the hospital to find out exactly what happened in the attack in Tahrir Square, YNewsNet reported.

The rape of the Dutch journalist is one of many recent incidents during protests in Egypt against the administration of President Mohammed Morsi, according to Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment (OpAntiSH). The volunteer group told the state-funded Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that 46 sexual assaults have happened in the country since Sunday in the protests.

"There [were] men with sticks at the entrance of the metro station across from KFC in Tahrir who are attacking women," OpAntiSH told Ahram Online on Monday. The group initially tweeted Sunday evening that there were “44 cases this evening. The highest number we have encountered since we began OpAntish. This is a very sad day.”

In a live blog forum, the Wall Street Journal said groups wearing orange traffic vests were stationed in Tahrir square and other central meeting points to “protect women from sexual harassment.” “Many female activists have blamed the violence on infiltrators from the government who want to intimidate female protesters, while other attacks have been attributed to the predominantly male-dominated Middle Eastern culture,” WSJ’s Reem Abdellatif wrote.

Similarly, BBC’s Jeremy Bowen wrote on Twitter Sunday that women were using the BBC’s headquarters as a hiding place from attackers. “In #tahrir tonight woman hiding in the building BBC using as a live position, protected from gang outside trying to sexually assault her,” he wrote. “Sadly #tahrir revolutionary atmosphere of people behaving well with common purpose long gone. Sexual assault common. no cops in sight.”

The United Nations said in a report last month that 25 cases of sexual assault have been reported in Tahrir Square this year, with 19 of them on January 25, which marked the second anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising against President Hosni Mubarak, who resigned in 2011. The UN reported one incident involved a young girl who was raped with a sharp instrument.

In February 2011, CBS chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan was the victim of an attack in Tahrir Square. CBS reported she was separated from her crew and was sexually assaulted and beaten by a mob of about 200 people.

Egyptian protesters, unhappy with the election of Morsi since the ousting of Mubarak’s 29-year-dictatorship, recently said the country has two days to rid of its current leader. Egypt’s rebel campaign Tamarod posted on Facebook on Monday that Morsi must leave the office by Tuesday or the group will lead a march on the presidential palace and organize nationwide protests.

On Monday, protesters stormed the headquarters of the ruling Freedom and Justice Party in Cairo with Molotov cocktails. In the unrest, at least 16 were killed and nearly 800 wounded on Sunday and Monday alone, according to the nation’s health minister, Dr. Mohammed Mustafa Hamid.

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