Egyptian Visit to U.S. Sparks Protests
March 6, 2002
WASHINGTON—Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s
visit to Washington was met with angry protests from human rights protesters
furious over Egypt’s senseless crackdown on gay people.
Demonstrators from Amnesty International and Al-Fatiha, a gay Arabic
organization, handed out leaflets condemning Mubarak and the Egyptian
government for the the wrongful arrest and imprisonment of gay Egyptians. The
protesters also condemned the Bush Administration for failing to raise human
rights concerns in a meeting with Mubarak on Monday and for attaching no
conditions to a recent multi-billion dollar aid package. A recent state visit
Mubarak made to France was met with similar protests.
"Our President met with the Egyptian President on the very day that
the State Department released a devastating report about Egypt’s human
rights record," said Sharon Burke of Amnesty International USA. "And
yet the issue apparently never even came up."
Burke was referring to the State Department’s annual Country Reports on
Human Rights Practices for 2001. The report acknowledges the "Cairo
52" case, in which an Egyptian State Security Emergency court sentenced
23 allegedly homosexual men to prison terms ranging from one to five years.
"We have documented a growing pattern of arrests and sham trials in
Egypt, of people suspected of homosexuality," stated Scott Long, Program
Director at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).
"At the same time, the United States government has rewarded Egypt
with a multi-billion dollar aid package," Long said. "How will our
government now translate its own human rights report into action?"
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