Egypt Rapped on ‘Gay Persecution’
News, March 1, 2004
By Heba Saleh, BBC correspondent in Cairo
The report says Egypt routinely persecutes gay men
Egypt has been criticised for its treatment of
homosexuals by the New York-based Human Rights Watch.
The group reports a campaign to repress Egyptian gay men,
who, it says, are routinely persecuted, arrested and tortured by the
The report was released in conjunction with five local
rights groups. Many Egyptians see gays as sinners—a view that has often
deterred local activists, who fear for their political image, from backing
‘Degrading’ medical tests
The Human Rights Watch report cited the trial of 52
Egyptian homosexual men in 2001 as the most visible point in a continuing
campaign against gays.
The group says Egyptian police uses wire taps and a
growing web of informers to carry out raids against private homes and seize
suspected homosexuals on the streets.
It accuses Egyptian security agents of using internet
chat-rooms and advertisements to entrap gay men, then arrest them.
Once in custody, the group says, gay men are subjected to
torture and degrading medical examinations to prove they have engaged in
homosexual relations. It says that in the last three years, hundreds of men
have undergone this treatment.
The group has launched its report in Cairo in conjunction
with five local human rights organisations.
In the past, Egyptian activists have been reluctant to
speak on the repression of gays because it is a sensitive cultural issue.
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