Egyptian Court Acquits 11 Men in Gay Sex Case
Advocate, July 22, 2003
An Egyptian appeals court grudgingly acquitted 11 men of
debauchery charges for alleged gay sexual activity, one of their lawyers said
Sunday. As the three-member panel issued its ruling Saturday, Judge Mo’azer
El-Marsafy condemned the men even while clearing them of criminal charges,
according to lawyer Helmi Al-Rawi.
“We are so disgusted with you, we can’t even look at
you,” the judge said. “What you did is a major sin, but unfortunately the
case has procedural errors, and the court had to acquit all of you.”
The 11 men were convicted in April and sentenced to up to
three years in prison; their case was one of several that have drawn
denunciations from international human rights groups. The main defendant was
arrested in February after his telephone had been bugged for more than a month
by officials acting on a tip. Egypt’s criminal code makes no specific
mention of homosexuality, but the country uses a wide range of laws covering
obscenity, prostitution, and debauchery to prosecute gays and lesbians.
Egyptian police monitor restaurants considered gay hangouts as well as Web
sites catering to gay men.
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