22/11/2011 02:15 GMT | Updated 21/01/2012 05:12 GMT

Egypt Protests - Army Accused Of Horrific Crimes Against Women

Women in Egypt have been subjected to 'horrific' torture at the hands of the Egyptian Army, including electric shock treatments and virginity tests, Amnesty has claimed.

Director of Amnesty International UK, Kate Allen, told Today on BBC Radio 4 that 12,000 people have been put through military tribunals and 13 people have been sentenced to death.

Describing what was happening in Egypt as "a real extension of emergency laws," Allen said Amnesty had documented horrific treatment of civilians by the Egyptian army, particularly against women.

"We've seen torture continuing and we know that women have been beaten and had electric shock treatment," she told Sarah Montague on Today on Tuesday morning.

"Women were dragged out of Tahrir square in March of this year and virginity-tested. The Army has failed to investigate this."

"What we are seeing at the moment is the army killing civilians and it's hard to see an environment where a free and fair election can take place."

With protests in Egypt expected to continue on Tuesday, The UK government has been urged to increase pressure on the Egyptian army, amid a continuing clampdown on civilian protests in Cairo and the attempted resignation of the country's cabinet.

Ministers offered to resign en masse in protest at the clampdown taking place in Tahrir Square in Cairo, which has seen at least 30 people killed in demonstrations over the past few days. The protests are expected to continue on Tuesday, after activists called for a 'million man rally' in the capital.

Reports suggested that 20,000 people demonstrated in Tahrir Square overnight, with suggestions that they had been penned into the square by police.

It is not clear whether the Egyptian army has accepted the resignation of the cabinet. The political crisis coupled with the demonstrations, arrests and killings have lessened chances of free and fair elections, due to start next Monday, taking place.

The Foreign Office has yet to comment on Amnesty's latest claims. Yesterday the Foreign Secretary William Hague said he remained optimistic about the prospects for the Arab Spring, despite the clampdown in Egypt.

"We do have these problems in Egypt but elections are about to take place and we have seen successful elections in Tunisia, a new government is now being formed in Libya, important reforms are taking place in Morocco and Jordan," he said.

"And so we should remain on the optimistic side of what is happening in the Arab Spring, albeit there will be many conflicts and difficulties on the way."