Last edited: February 14, 2005

Celebs Demand EU Cuts Aid to Egypt Until Imprisoned Gays are Free, March 18, 2002

Sir Elton John is among a group of celebrities calling on the European Union to cut aid to Egypt until 23 men imprisoned for being gay are set free.

Michael Cashman, a former actor, and now a member of the European Parliament said that the EU cut trade and aid ties with the country until the men, part of a group arrested at a boat party last year, are allowed to go free.

The "Association Agreement" between the EU and Egypt is subject to recognition of fundamental human rights—something which Egypt has breached by its treatment of gays, said Cashman

Cashman is meeting EU officials and the Egyptian ambassador to hand over a petition which has the support of a number of celebrities, including Sir Elton John, Sir Anthony Sher, Sir Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, author Margaret Drabble, comedians Eddie Izzard, Graham Norton, and Maureen Lipman.

Since the "Nile Boat" trial, in which 29 were acquitted and 23 sentenced to hard labour for debauchery, other homosexuals have been arrested in Egypt, awaiting trial.

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