Rights Groups Slam Egypt for "Homosexuality" Case
Reuters, July 4, 2001
CAIRO Two international rights groups on
Wednesday deplored a decision by Egypts state prosecutor to charge 52 men
on counts including obscene behaviour, saying they were being put on trial for
their sexual orientation.
The men were detained in May after a police raid on a floating nightclub on
the Nile which is known locally as a popular gay venue.
They were charged last month on counts including obscene behaviour with
men, contempt of monotheistic faiths and abuse of religion to spread extremist
"Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
Commission are gravely concerned that these men are being brought to trial
because of their sexual orientation, as well as for the exercise of their
rights to free expression and association," the two groups said in a
Police said they had been watching the group for some time and had compiled
a file on their practices before the raid on the Queen Boat club on May 9.
The media has consistently referred to the issue as the "homosexuality
case," even though the men were not charged on that count and there is no
Egyptian law expressly prohibiting homosexual acts.
The trial is due to begin on July 18. The charges carry a maximum penalty
of five years in prison, court sources said.
Despite criticism by some groups at home and abroad, the Egyptian
government and many lawyers maintain that Egypts judiciary is independent
and the legal system is fair.
Joint press release:
Egypt: Emergency Court Trials for Homosexual
Suspects - July 3, 2001
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