Last edited: February 14, 2005

Egyptian Visit to U.S. Sparks Protests

Datalounge, 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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