A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, July 2013.
Asmaa Waguih / Courtesy Reuters

In late November 2013, Egyptian police rounded up 14 female activists in downtown Cairo, including three prominent women who had helped lead the first protests against former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011. Three years later, the women were still at it, now protesting military trials against civilians and a draconian new law banning public demonstrations without a permit. Following the arrests, the women allege, they were detained for several hours by the police, beaten and sexually abused, and then dumped in the desert outside the city.

The ordeal was the latest episode in an appalling season of violence against women in

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