Frank Calls on Gays to Oppose ‘Brutal Regime’ in Egypt
April 14, 2003
By Paul Johnson, Washington Bureau Chief
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
“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 365Gay.com.
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