Last edited: January 26, 2005

Frank Calls on Gays to Oppose ‘Brutal Regime’ in Egypt, April 14, 2003

By Paul Johnson, Washington Bureau Chief

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass) accusing the Egyptian ambassador to the US of lying about the treatment of gays in that country.

The out congressman Monday released a letter sent last week to Ambassador Nabil Fahmy that says Frank believes the ambassador lied to him last year when he told Frank and other congressmen that Egypt was not targeting and persecuting gay men.

The congressmen had complained to Fahmy about the arrests and subsequent trial of 52 men in a gay club on a Nile riverboat. Since Fahmy’s denial that there was a crackdown on gay men in Egypt authorities have intensified their actions against gay men, raiding private homes and tracking down and entrapping gay men who try to meet people over the Internet.

Last week, the European Union called on Egypt to end its persecution of gays and Amnesty International issued an urgent global appeal on behalf of a 26-year-old man who was sentenced to 15 months in prison after arranging to have sex with a man he had met through a popular gay website.

Frank’s latest letter to the Egyptian ambassador states in part, “Based on the recent convictions and the continued arrests of gay men in Egypt . . .I can come to no other conclusion than that you lied to me.”

“I feared then that the ambassador was lying,” Frank added, “but I was somewhat encouraged at the time that he felt the need to deny any policy of intolerance towards gays, but in the face of such continued and blatant oppression of men who happen to be gay, I wanted the ambassador to know that his fundamental dishonesty is now evident.”

Frank is also urging national gay rights organizations to lobby Congress to curb international assistance to Egypt.

“It would not be practical to seek a total cessation of aid to Egypt,” said Frank, “particularly that aid we provide annually to Egypt for the constructive role it played in the late seventies when it signed a peace treaty with Israel. But the Egyptian government has other goals it is seeking that require congressional approval, such as weapons sales, trade preferences and in other areas. Egypt must understand that it cannot continue to be so oppressive towards people’s human rights and expect us to support these additional requests.”

The Egyptian Embassy did not return calls Monday from

[Home] [World] [Egypt]