Egypt Criticizes EU on Rights Resolution
Associated Press, April 18,
By Maggie Michael
CAIRO, Egypt—Egypt’s parliament
speaker accused the European Parliament of unwarranted meddling Friday after
it passed a resolution accusing the Egyptian government of persecuting gays.
“No one has the right to give lessons to the other,”
Ahmed Fathi Sorour wrote in an open letter to Pat Cox, president of the
European Union assembly, carried by Egypt’s official MENA news agency.
Sorour called the April 10 resolution “an arbitrary
judgment” and accused the lawmakers of “oversimplifying dangerous
Other cultures must “respect the right of the people
(Egyptians) to choose freely their legal system, and to protect their
religious and cultural values,” he wrote.
A criminal court sentenced 21 men to three years in jail
last month on charges of practicing debauchery. They were arrested in a May
2001 police raid on a Nile boat restaurant on suspicion they had taken part in
a gay sex party.
Another 14 men were convicted Thursday and given prison
sentences of one to three years on similar charges, according to one of their
Human rights groups and Western diplomats have condemned
Egypt’s harsh treatment of homosexuality.
The European Parliament resolution called on Egyptian
authorities to stop persecuting gays and to prohibit discrimination on grounds
of sexual orientation.
Sorour insisted that the Egyptian criminal code does not
punish “private sexual relationships,” but only “public practice or
contempt of religion.”
Homosexuality is not explicitly referred to in the
Egyptian legal system, but a wide range of laws covering obscenity,
prostitution and public morality are punishable by jail terms.
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