Revealing the secrets of the body: Medical tests as legal evidence in personal status disputes in modern Egypt

Ron Shaham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The study of seeks to answer the following question: In the field of personal status, what kinds of medical tests have been considered reliable and acceptable by Egyptian courts of law, what kinds have been less accepted, and why? The main finding is that, on the one hand, the judges (qādīs) have welcomed tests that seek to determine age or to discover physical disease and/or mental disorders. On the other hand, they have reluctant to introduce tests to determine virginity and pregnancy tests, and even more so to introduce paternity tests that might during into light manifestations of moral laxity within Egyptian society and jeopardize the future of illegitimate children. In conclusion, the main resistance to the reliance on modern medical evidence has not been the lack of modern knowledge and technologies or opposition to this, but rather traditional moral and social perceptions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)357-380
Number of pages24
JournalMedicine and Law
Volume21
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Egypt
  • Forensic evidence
  • Paternity tests
  • Personal status

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