Egypt Angered by Euro Condemnation
Data Lounge, April 21, 2003
By C. Barillas, Editor
CAIRO, Egypt—The speaker of the
Egyptian legislature on Friday accused the European Parliament of unwarranted
meddling after the legislative arm of the European Union condemned the
country’s persecution of gay men.
“No one has the right to give lessons to the other,”
Ahmed Fathi Sorour wrote in an open letter to Pat Cox, the president of the
European Union assembly. 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 stemming from a May 2001 police
raid on the Queen Boat nightclub. Another 14 men were convicted Thursday and
given prison sentences of one to three years on similar charges. The harsh
sentences prompted a wave of condemnation from international human rights
groups. Under pressure, the European Parliament issued a resolution calling on
Egyptian authorities to stop persecuting gay people and to prohibit
discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
It was 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
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.
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