Egypt: Teenager Released from Jail After His Sentence Is Reduced on Appeal
New Hope for Remaining Men In Prison Because of Presumed Homosexuality
International Gay and
Lesbian Human Rights Commission, December 19, 2001
1360 Mission Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94103 USA
Tel. 1.415.255.8680, Fax. 1.415.255.8662
SAN FRANCISCO—Egyptian courts have reduced on
appeal the sentence of a teenager, convicted of "the habitual practice of
debauchery" because of his presumed homosexuality, to six months jail and
six months probation. Jailed over six months ago in May, Mahmoud was released
from jail to serve his probation.
"This is a tremendous victory for Mahmoud and his family," said
Scott Long, Program Director at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
Commission (IGLHRC). "Maybe the Egyptian government is starting to get
the message that the arrest and torture of people for their presumed
homosexuality must stop."
Mahmoud was delighted to be released, but remains concerned about the terms
of his probation. He joined his family, who was present at the hearing today,
and plans to go back home to his village.
After his arrest May 10, Mahmoud was convicted September 18 by the Cairo
Juvenile Court and sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed by law: three
years in jail and three years probation. His case was riddled with
irregularities and allegations of torture. No reason was given by the court
today for the reduction of his sentence on appeal.
"We still have 23 men serving hard labor sentences, and at least 4
more arrested and in detention since early November," added Mr. Long.
"We need to keep up our pressure."
The 23 men are part of the Cairo 52 group, sentenced November 14 by an
Emergency State Security Court to one to five years of hard labor. These
sentences cannot be appealed, but they can be overturned by the direct
intervention of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Despite international pleas,
the Egyptian government has refused so far to pardon them. (See background
IGLHRC is a US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization that works
to protect and advance the human rights of all people and communities subject
to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation, gender
identity, or HIV status.
To access the IGLHRC web site please visit http://www.iglhrc.org
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