Last edited: January 27, 2005

Egypt Angered by Euro Condemnation

The 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 issues.”

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 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.

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