Gay.Com Urges Foreign Office to Warn of Risks to Gay Travellers to Egypt
August 22, 2001
Gay.com News Release
Gay.com, Britains leading gay internet company, is organising an online
petition at http://uk.gay.com/petition/ calling on the Foreign Office to warn
British travellers to Egypt following the arrest of 52 men at a party at the
Queen Boat restaurant on the Nile at Zamalek in May. They were charged with
gay sex offences.
The men are due to appear at a closed court on August 29 in Cairo and could
face three-year prison terms; their families have been barred from attending.
The trial has prompted international protests and a call by Amnesty
International for a tourist boycott of Egypt. Fifty of the men are charged
with practicing debauchery with men. The remaining two, deemed by the
Egyptian Attorney General Maher Abdel Whahid to have been the leaders of the
group, have been charged with exploiting the Islamic religion to spread
extremist ideas and practicing gay sex as part of the groups rituals
. with the aim of insulting the heavenly religions and sparking civil strife.
The Queen Boat is a popular tourist restaurant.
Gay.coms Mark Watson said: There have been protests outside the
Egyptian Embassies in ten cities in the US, Canada, Germany, Australia and
France, and outside the UN Commission for Human Rights in Geneva. However, the
British Foreign Office has yet to offer updated travel advice to gay UK
travellers visiting Egypt. We understand that Europeans were arrested at the
same time as the 52 Egyptians but were released after questioning. Gay groups
in Cairo are urging gay tourists not to visit the country. We are calling
on the Foreign Office to update its travel advice notice for Egypt. We are
also launching an online petition targeting our 270,000 users in the UK, to
the Minister of State with responsibility for the Middle East, Ben Bradshaw,
asking him to express the British Governments concern over the continued
detention and closed trial of these men.
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