Last edited: February 14, 2005

Fifty of the "Cairo 52" to Face Second Trial

The Advocate, June 26, 2002

The Egyptian government has decided to retry 50 of the defendants in the "Cairo 52" case, according to a Tuesday press release from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. The new trial will begin July 2 at the Qasr-al-Nil court of misdemeanors in Cairo. The same judge who presided over the original trial, Abdel Karim (criticized by attorneys for showing open bias), will also preside over this one. The state-controlled daily newspaper Al Ahram announced the decision on June 23.

Of the 52 men who were put on trial for having gay sex on a Nile River boat club last year, 50 will be sent back into the second trial: 29 men who were already acquitted in November 2001 and 21 who were convicted and saw their sentences quashed last month. Two other men were convicted and saw their sentences confirmed by President Mubarak in May; they have no appeal venue open to them. It is not clear whether the defendants will be arrested and jailed again before the trial.

"We see now our worst suspicions confirmed," said Scott Long, IGLHRC program director. "President Mubarak’s government made a show of leniency last month, releasing the convicted defendants on bail. Now it is cracking down again—and their professions of mercy are revealed as a mockery. Retrying people who have already been acquitted violates basic fairness and basic protections in international law."

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