CAIRO - A high-ranking Egyptian military official denied comments carried by CNN saying the military had conducted forced "virginity tests" on female protesters in March, state al-Ahram newspaper reported on Wednesday.
According to CNN, an Egyptian general said the military had conducted the tests, confirming reports by rights group Amnesty International in March. The CNN report prompted activists to call for protests to condemn the action.
The military official, who was not named, denied the news and called on media "to practice precision before publishing these accusations, and tarnishing the name of the armed forces with such accusations that seek to cause a rift between the army and the people."
Rights groups said at least 18 women were arrested on March 9, when army officers forcibly cleared Tahrir Square in Cairo, center of the protests that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in February. A military council now rules Egypt.
Some of those detained said the abuse included forced "virginity tests", beatings, electric shocks and strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, Amnesty reported.