Mubarak Orders New Trial for 50 Egyptians
May 24, 2002
Egypt’s president ordered the retrial of 50 men accused of gay sex and
debauchery, but he endorsed the prison sentences for the two main defendants
in the case, prosecution officials said Wednesday. An Emergency State Security
Court sentenced 23 men in November to jail terms ranging from one to five
years on charges of taking part in a gay sex party on a Nile River floating
restaurant in May 2001. Another 29 men were acquitted.
President Hosni Mubarak ordered 50 of the men to be retried in a lower
misdemeanor court because they were accused only of debauchery, not contempt
of religion, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. In
ordering the retrial, Mubarak also endorsed the harshest sentence, which was
handed down for Sherif Farahat. Farahat, believed to have been the group’s
leader, was sentenced to hard labor for debauchery, contempt of religion,
falsely interpreting the Koran, and exploiting Islam to promote deviant ideas.
Mubarak also endorsed the verdict against Mahmoud Ahmed Allam, who received
three years’ imprisonment on the religious charges but was acquitted of
Mubarak, acting in his capacity as Egypt’s military ruler, must approve
sentences issued by the emergency court for them to become final. Emergency
laws have been in place since 1981.
Following the initial trial, human rights groups and the international
community condemned Egypt, where homosexuality is met with zero tolerance. It
is not explicitly referred to in the Egyptian legal system, but there are a
wide range of laws covering obscenity, prostitution, and public morality, and
violation of them is punishable by jail terms. The International Gay and
Lesbian Human Rights Commission said Wednesday that it was shocked by the
order for retrial. "If true, this is Egypt’s last-ditch effort to clean
up its image before the international community," stated Scott Long,
IGLHRC’s program director. "But dragging the convicted men into the
humiliation of a new trial—while placing 29 acquitted men under the renewed
threat of imprisonment—can only sully that image further."
[Home] [News] [Egypt]