CAIRO — An Egyptian woman wearing a black veil alleged in a television interview that police raped her after she stopped to ask for directions in a rural area.
The allegations add fodder to a growing debate in Egypt about police abuse, which human rights groups say is frequent.
Protests and online campaigns began in June when a 28-year-old man died after an alleged beating by police officers. The two officers are charged with using excessive force, but not charged with killing Khaled Said.
While the government denies police brutality is pervasive, rights groups say officers act with impunity because they are rarely taken to task for abuses.
The woman, who was not identified, sobbed as she described the alleged attack. Her voice breaking, she said two men took turns raping her in the back of a police van on a dark, rural road after she asked them for directions.
“I am heartbroken because I thought the police were the source of security for us, the people,’’ she said.
She filed a police complaint, but the attackers have not been apprehended. She said the attackers also stole her rings, mobile phone, and money.
The video of the interview went viral in days, and a group started a Facebook campaign on her behalf.
The UN quoted Egypt’s Interior Ministry as saying that 20,000 women and girls are raped in that country every year, a figure that is probably low because victims rarely come forward, fearing social stigma.
But the woman said she felt compelled to come forward as a warning for others.
Her lawyer told the TV station that a police investigation had recognized the rape took place but did not identify the attackers as police officers. There was no immediate comment from government officials.