Egypt Must Release Gay Prisoners, Says Civil Rights Group
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
“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possible should be amended or repealed,” he added.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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