Egypt: 5 Suspected Gays Cleared on Appeal
PlanetOut.com Network, April 15, 2002
SUMMARY: Five Egyptian men who were sentenced last
month to three-year prison terms for suspected homosexual activity had their
Five men who were sentenced last month to three-year prison terms for
suspected homosexual activity had their sentences overturned on Saturday in an
Egyptian appeals court.
The ruling took place in Damanhour, the capital of Al-Beheira province. The
men, jailed since Jan. 15, have not yet been released, according to the
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).
"We are gratified that the Egyptian government is beginning to
recognize its human rights obligations," said Scott Long, program
director for IGLHRC. "Unfortunately, an unknown number of innocent people
remain in prison because of their suspected homosexuality. We must continue
the pressure until they are all released."
The men had been convicted on March 11 of habitual "debauchery"—a
broad charge that includes consensual gay sex. Their sentences of three years
with hard labor continued a punitive trend that has alarmed activists
worldwide for its harsh treatment of suspected homosexuals.
Last November, 23 of a total 52 suspected gay defendants received similar
sentences after a 4-month trial that received widespread media attention.
Reports of brutality and torture of the jailed men have prompted activists
and officials to repeatedly denounce Egypt for human rights abuses directed at
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