Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) Letter to President Hosni Mubarak
March 12, 2003
His Excellency Muhammad Hosni Mubarak
Office of the President
Al Etehadia Building
Heliobolis Cairo, Egypt
Dear President Mubarak:
I write concerning recent, disturbing reports about the
continued entrapment, arrest and conviction of gay men in Egypt solely for
engaging in private, consensual sexual relations. One specific case involves a
man named Wissam Toufic Abyad who was arrested earlier this year in Cairo
after being lured to a meeting by a police officer posing as a gay man over
the Internet. I had been encouraged in the past when the appeals courts had
overturned such cases, and I’m very concerned that a recent appeal of Mr.
Abyad’s case was not favorable. I hope that any future court decisions will
not act against Mr. Abyad or others like him who have been sought out by the
police and imprisoned.
As you know, last year many of my colleagues in the House
of Representatives joined a number of efforts speaking out against the
persecution of gay men in Egypt. And the recent omnibus spending bill that
passed Congress—which, among other things, included $200 million of aid to
Egypt—also included report language expressing concern about the human
rights situation in Egypt, specifically citing restrictions on freedom
of expression and impediments to the development of democracy and the
rule of law.
I also understand that the United States Agency for
International Development is helping to fund projects in Egypt for the
development of Internet infrastructure, including web development, information
technology, and computer equipment, and I should tell you that if gay men
continue to be entrapped and imprisoned through the use of the Internet and in
other ways, this may undermine congressional support for this and other kinds
of international aid.
I sincerely hope that your government will take steps to
halt this harsh campaign against the consensual private sexual relations of
individuals who are doing no harm to others.
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