Video has surfaced that appears to show a Cairo mob attacking a female journalist, one of two women reporters who said they were sexually assaulted last week while covering the unrest in Egypt.
French reporter Caroline Sinz told French news agency Agence France-Presse Thursday she was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted while reporting on the massive street protests in Tahrir Square:
“We were filming in Mohammed Mahmud street when we were mobbed by young people who were about 14 or 15,” said Sinz.
The journalist and her cameraman were then dragged by a group of men towards Tahrir Square where they became separated, she said.
“We were then assaulted by a crowd of men. I was beaten by a group of youngsters and adults who tore my clothes” and then molested her in a way that “would be considered rape,” she said.
“Some people tried to help me but failed. I was lynched. It lasted three quarters of an hour before I was taken out. I thought I was going to die,” she said. Her cameraman was also beaten.
In the video, part of a foreign news report, a surging crowd of men is seen from above surrounding a woman with blonde hair who looks like Sinz. She appears to be unable to move through the packed crowd, and at least several men appear to be groping her in a frenzy before the camera pans out.
Just hours later, U.S.-based Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy accused Egyptian police of sexually assaulting her while she was detained.
Eltahawy made the graphic claims on Twitter, saying “5 or 6 surrounded me, groped and prodded my breasts, grabbed my genital area and I lost count how many hands tried to get into my trousers.”
The reports had prompted the French chapter of Reporters Without Borders to issue a statement urging news outlets to stop sending female journalists to cover the situation in Egypt, before a backlash forced the organization to amend its position.
Instead, the organization said, media outlets should take great care with reporter safety and make their security a priority.
“It is more dangerous for a woman than a man to cover the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. That is the reality and the media must face it. It is the first time that there have been repeated sexual assaults against women reporters in the same place. The media must keep this in mind when sending staff there and must take special safety measures,” the organization said.
U.S. reporter Lara Logan suffered a sustained sexual assault in Egypt in February while covering the first wave of unrest for CBS.