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
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 ——
Write IMMEDIATELY to:
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
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
—— 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 http://www.iglhrc.org/world/africa/Egypt2002Feb.html.
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