Last edited: January 25, 2005

Euro Parliament Protests Egypt Crackdown

The Data Lounge, April 11, 2003

STRASBOURG—The European Parliament on Thursday approved an urgent resolution urging the Egyptian government to end its persecution of gay citizens and called for the immediate release of prisoners sentenced in connection with the Queen Boat trial.

This is the fourth such resolution adopted by European ministers since June 2001.

The resolution reminds Egypt that the EU-Egypt Association Agreement signed in November 2001 urges adherence to basic human rights norms, including the call for government leaders in Cairo to “refrain from sanction against the private sexual relations between consenting adults.”

The resolution condemned new efforts undertaken by the Egyptian authorities in recent months to step up persecution of people based on their sexual orientation and called on officials to end their campaign of violence against the community. Amnesty International, meanwhile, issued an urgent global appeal on behalf of a 26-year-old man who was sentenced by a Cairo court to a 15 month jail term after arranging a date with another man online.

Wassim Tawfiq Abyad was convicted of “habitual debauchery” after replying to a personals ad on the UK based website and arranging a meeting. It is believed the man who placed the ad was a police informant. Email and webchat conversations exchanged between the two men on were used as evidence against Wissam in court.

Amnesty International said Thursday it is very concerned that the Egyptian authorities are pursuing a policy of internet entrapment to persecute gay men.

Nora Cranston who works on gay issues for Amnesty said, “The Egyptian government must receive a clear message from people all over the world that persecution of people for their sexual orientation is unacceptable, and that internet entrapment is a clear violation of fundamental human rights.”

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