Last edited: October 26, 2003

Egypt Must Release Gay Prisoners, Says Civil Rights Group UK, October 7, 2003

Egypt’s “crackdown” on its gay citizens and visitors must stop if the country wants to be considered a modern and non-repressive country, a leading civil rights group said today.

According to Human Rights Watch, the continuing detainment of gay men in the country’s prisons, as well as their torture, is against human rights codes.

“The Egyptian government should free these men and any others who are imprisoned for consensual homosexual conduct,” said HRW acting executive director Joe Stork today.

“These arrests should end, and the repressive legislation that makes them possible should be amended or repealed,” he added.

The comments came after the country hit the headlines once again over its treatment of gay men this summer.

Sixty-two men were reportedly rounded up in Cairo and arrested under suspicion of being gay. After being held in prison for three days, and being verbally abused, the men were released on bail under the charge of “habitual practice of debauchery”.

This charge is used to arrest gay men, as homosexuality is not actually illegal in the country, but is a taboo subject.

“These arrests are only the latest in a two-year official campaign against homosexual conduct,” Stork said yesterday, linking the arrests to the infamous Queenboat scandal of 2001.

Additionally, he highlighted the growing number of entrapment cases, where men are lured by police who log on to gay chat sites and arrange meetings with closeted gay men.

Once they meet them, they then arrest them under charges that could lead to 3 years imprisonment.

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