Egypt Gay Trial Hears Lawyers Plea
August 15, 2001
By Caroline Hawley in Cairo
Defence lawyers for 52 Egyptian men alleged to have engaged in gay sex have
appealed for them to be released and for the trial to be transferred to
The casewhich has been criticised by international human rights groupsis
being heard in the state security court, whose verdicts are not subject to
The men have been accused of practising debauchery and the two main
defendants have also been charged with using religion to spread extremist
In white prison uniforms, they were crammed into an iron cage at the side
of the court, handcuffed to one another. One of the defendants, an English
teacher at the British Council in Cairo, struggled to talk to reporters
through the bars of the cage.
"I want to know, what have I done? I am not a criminal to be in the
prison. Ive been in the prison for 95 days, for what crime?
"People are suffering, we are really suffering. Whats the aim
behind all this?"
Although homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, it is a major cultural and
Some of the men covered their faces with tissues to avoid being identified.
But their names and some of their addresses have been published in Egyptian
newspapers. Defence lawyers say the press has already convicted them by
publishing lurid and false accounts of gay orgies on board a floating disco,
where most of the men were detained.
If found guilty of practising debauchery, the men could face up to three
years in jail.
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