Four Presumed Homosexuals Acquitted in Cairo
More Arrests Continue to Take Place
Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), September 25,
1375 Sutter Street., Suite 222, San Francisco, CA 94109
T: +1-415-561-0633, F: +1-415-561-0619, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release
For additional information, contact:
Sydney Levy, +1-415-561-0633 (office), +1-415-577-8680 (cell), email@example.com
SAN FRANCISCO—Four men, convicted
last February in Cairo for consensual homosexual behavior, have been acquitted
under appeal. The men, known as “the Boulak 4,” had been in continuous
detention since their initial arrest on November 10. Their acquittal may
signal Egypt’s response to mounting U.N. criticism of the treatment of
homosexuals in that country.
“These men were unjustly arrested, tortured, and
convicted. We have been waiting more than 10 months to hear this news,”
stated Scott Long, Program Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human
“It is too early to celebrate, however. Fifty of the
‘Cairo 52’ are still under trial while the remaining two are doing hard
labor. And at the same time we continue to receive reports of new waves of
arbitrary arrests,” added Mr. Long.
The “Boulak 4” acquittals follow a string of U.N.
actions, questioning and condemning Egypt’s treatment of homosexuals. The
U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted on June 21, 2002 an
unprecedented decision in reference to the “Cairo 52.” The decision
establishes that “The detention of the above-mentioned persons prosecuted in
the grounds that, by their sexual orientation, they incited ‘social
dissension’ constitutes arbitrary deprivation of liberty” and calls on
Egypt to redress the situation and amend its legislation.
The U.N. Human Rights Committee followed suit, explicitly
including a question about Egypt’s persecution of homosexuals in the list of
questions it intends to officially ask the Government of Egypt this coming
Fall. The Committee requested that Egypt provide “information on the
existence, in law and in fact, of discrimination based on sexual
orientation.” IGLHRC has already submitted documentary evidence of both.
The “Boulak 4” had been arrested on November 10,
2001. The Egyptian press announced the arrests on November 15, the morning
after verdicts were handed down in the “Cairo 52” trial. That day, Mr.
Long was able to speak to one of the men through the bars of a police wagon at
the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Boulak. The prisoner told how all four had
been beaten and ill-treated during interrogations. He described how he had
been stripped naked and beaten with batons, splashed with cold water in the
face, and left hanging by the bars in his jail cell.
On February 3, 2002, a court in Boulak-al-Dakrour (in
Giza, a suburb of Cairo) convicted the four men for consensual homosexual
behavior. A judge sentenced each to three years in prison with three years’
probation to follow. The rulings were appealed to the Boulak Appeals Court of
Misdemeanors, which reversed the lower court decision for lack of evidence.
The Appeals Court found that the prosecution did not visit the flat where the
sexual relations between the men were supposed to have taken place, and that
forensic test, conducted on only two of the defendants, tested negative.
IGLHRC considers that the use of forensic examinations in order to ascertain
whether an individual has engaged in anal intercourse is in itself a form of
cruel and inhuman treatment.
For additional background information and an action
alert, see http://www.iglhrc.org/world/africa/index.html#Egypt
The mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human
Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is to secure the full enjoyment of the human rights
of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis
of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV
status. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), IGLHRC
effects this mission through advocacy, documentation, coalition building,
public education, and technical assistance.
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