Last edited: January 05, 2005

Mubarak to Meet Bush One Day After New Trial of "Perverts" Begins

Demand the U.S. Condemn Continuing Repression!

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), March 4, 2002
1360 Mission Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94103 USA
Telephone: +1-415-255-8680, Fax: +1-415-255-8662

—— Summary ——

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in the U.S. capital on Tuesday, March 5, 2002, for a series of meetings with American officials—the day after yet another trial of accused homosexuals is scheduled to begin.

Mubarak’s visit comes after a year in which brutal arrests, and sensationalized trials, of suspected homosexuals have become a regular occurence in Egypt. It also comes one day after the March 4 opening of a trial in the provincial Egyptian city of Dam anhour, in which members of a so-called "network of perverts" face imprisonment for consensual homosexual conduct.

IGLHRC calls for URGENT e-mails to U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Urge them to express outrage to President Mubarak over arrests in Egypt. Insist that they press for the immediate release of all persons imprisoned in Egypt for consensual homosexual conduct.

—— Action ——


Mr. George W. Bush, President of the United States

Mr. Colin Powell, Secretary of State

A sample letter can be found below.

—— Sample Letter ——

Dear President Bush/Secretary Powell:

I am shocked that the United States continues to lavish aid on the government of Egypt despite its repressive policies. I urge you, in your conversations with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak during his upcoming visit, to raise Egypt’s human rights record and call clearly for change.

Egypt regularly tortures and imprisons men for consensual homosexual behavior. In Boulak-al-Dakrour, near Cairo, four men received 3-year prison sentences on February 3. In Damanhour, eight men were rounded up in January for the same "crime." These follow the 2001 Cairo case in which 23 men were sentenced to years at hard labor. The trial in the Damanhour case begins the day before President Mubarak’s visit to Washington—a clear sign of Egypt’s indifference to international standards.

The persecution of homosexuals is of a piece with the persecution of other groups in Egypt, including non-violent Muslim activists who are jailed and tortured under repressive legislation which conflates dissent with "terrorism."

Democracies discredit themselves by turning a blind eye to violence and abuse. I am shocked by the US/European decision to support Egypt with $10 billion in aid, only days after the Boulak verdict. Please strongly condemn Egypt’s brutal persecution of homosexual conduct, as well as its suppression of other forms of dissent. Please see that your support for so-called allies worldwide, whoever they may be, is firmly tied to an examination of their human rights records. Human rights must not be detached from a humane foreign policy.


—— Background on the Damanhour Trial ——

On January 20, 2002, the opposition newspaper Al-Wafd reported the arrest of a "network of perverts" in Damanhour, the capital of Al-Beheira province, southwest of Alexandria. The newspaper report was headlined, "Major Network of Perverts Arrested in Al-Beheira: Social Security employee used his home as a lair for the practice of debauchery." The newspaper said that eight men had been jailed after police "stormed the apartment" and found the eight defendants "in debauched positions." It also stated that some of the defendants "were wearing gowns and makeup."

According to the report, the civil servant who owned the apartment was arrested along with all others present. The prisoners reportedly included an upholsterer (52 years old), a shoe-shiner (52 years old), a factory employee (37 years old), a mechanic (32 years old), and a carter (19 years old). Damanhour prosecutor Yaseen Zaghloul ordered that the men be subjected to medical examinations of their genitals and anuses. Police confiscated "an address book containing the names and addresses of a large number of perverts," the newspaper said— raising fears of further arrests.

Activists in Cairo were able to hire an attorney to investigate the case. On January 23 he was able to speak to police in Damanhour. However, the chief inspector, whom police identified only as Yaseen Bey, refused to share information or show him the police report. (One difficulty faced by pre-trial detainees in Egypt is obtaining legal representation: only the detainee himself or immediate family can sign documents authorizing representation, a right denied to NGOs, friends, and others. However, the prisoner obviously has severely restricted contact with the outside world; and in cases, such as this one, where stigma and shame are severe, relatives may sever relations with the defendant—or the defendant may wish to conceal the case from them.)

The lawyer was able to learn that three men had been released, apparently on bail, but five were still imprisoned: police refused to tell him their names. The secretary at the police station said to the attorney, "dol mosh fujur ya austaz dool khawalat" [it is not a case of "debauchery" but of faggots].

On January 26, the defendants appeared before a judge, who extended their detention for a further 45 days. It is unclear whether the 3 who had reportedly been freed were again jailed. Officials closed the hearing and barred the attorney from attending, and the prosecutor told him, "I have orders to be extra careful in this particular case."

In the meantime, on January 28, the national paper Al-Osboa published what purported to be the "Beheira Perverts Organization Ringleader’s Confession," recounting how he and his confederates "plotted ways and means which would lead us to our fellow-perverts." The article included initials, ages, and employment details of most of the accused. And on March 3, Al-Wafd stated that the trial would begin on the following day—in advance of the 45 days previously scheduled. The presiding judge, Mohamed Moktar, may have moved the date forward to interfere with the defence.

For more information on this case—and on how human rights should be tied to US/European aid—see IGLHRC’s February 7, 2002 alert, "Egypt: New Convictions in Cairo: US and Europe Bankroll Brutality Abroad," at

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