Egyptian parliament to quiz lawmaker over virginity tests comment

The Egyptian Parliament will question a lawmaker over his call for obligatory virginity tests to be conducted on women seeking university admission, state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Last week, lawmaker Elhamy Agina told the private Egyptian newspaper al-Youm al-Saba that the tests were necessary to combat informal marriages among university students.

Some young people favour this type of arrangement because they cannot afford the high expenses of a formal union, which involves a dowry and gift-giving.

Agina also demanded that each university female applicant present an official document stating that she is a "maid."

Pre-marital sex is a taboo in mostly conservative Egypt, and women's virginity is a sensitive matter of family honour. 

His remarks triggered outrage among human rights advocates, feminist groups and social media users in Egypt.

Al-Ahram said that parliament speaker Ali Abdelal referred Agina on Tuesday to the assembly's Ethics Committee for questioning.

More than 100 public figures and rights activists lodged a signed complaint with parliament against Agina, accusing him of insulting Egyptian women, according to media reports. 

If found guilty in the parliamentary inquiry, Agina could have his membership revoked. 

Agina has not commented on the probe.   

However, he said in a Facebook post this week that he did not intend to offend women, adding that his call for virginity tests was a mere proposal.

Last update: Wed, 05/10/2016 - 13:26
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