Pressure on Egypt Mounts as Trial of 52 Men on Homosexual Charges Opens August
IGLHRC Calls for Their Immediate and Unconditional Release
International Gay and
Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), August 14, 2001
Sydney Levy, Director of Communications
1360 Mission St, Ste 200, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Tel: 1-415-255-8680; Fax: 1-415-255-8662
SAN FRANCISCO The International Gay and Lesbian
Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) issued an urgent call to the Egyptian
government, calling for the immediate release of 52 men detained because of
their alleged homosexuality. International pressure mounts on Egypt as the mens
trial is due to start August 15.
The 52 men have been in detention since their arrest May 11, 2001. They are
being charged with "obscene behavior" and "contempt of
religion." The trial set for August 15 will take place in front of a
special Emergency State Security Court.
"We have been monitoring this case since its beginning in May,"
stated Scott Long, Program Director at IGLHRC. "The Egyptian government
hasnt shifted its stance, and human rights defenders in Egypt are in
danger. International attention is now more critical than ever since, under
Egypts emergency laws, the sentences of this court cannot be
Reports from the prison indicate that the men were subjected to beatings
and to forensic examinations in order to ascertain whether they had engaged in
anal intercourse. Meanwhile, outside the prison walls, the tightly
State-controlled media has engaged in a campaign of vilification against the
imprisoned men, referring to them as "Satanists" and perverts.
"This perversion of justice must stop. The government of Egypt must
release the men immediately and unconditionally," affirmed Surina Khan,
IGLHRCs Executive Director. "We call on the Egyptian government to
repeal the two-decade old emergency legislation permitting trials with no
As the men go to trial, international pressure on Egypt grows. Following
IGLHRCs initial action alert on May 16th, the United Nations Special
Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the UN Special
Rapporteur on Torture, and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sent an
urgent appeal to the Egyptian government on May 17th. On July 3rd Human Rights
Watch issued a joint statement with IGLHRC condemning the arrests. On August
3rd 35 members of Congress signed on a letter drafted by U.S. Representatives
Barney Frank and Tom Lantos to Egypts President Hosni Mobarak, expressing
"strong disapproval" over the arrests.
On August 15th, the day the trial opens, Al-Fatiha an international
organization of Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or
questioning - is organizing an International Day of Solidarity and Morning.
Cities where demonstrations and rallies are planned include: Atlanta, Berlin,
Canberra, Geneva, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Washington DC, and
IGLHRC is a US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization that works
to protect and advance the human rights of all people and communities subject
to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation, gender
identity, or HIV status.
IGLHRC is a US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization whose
mission is to protect and advance the human rights of all people and
communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual
orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. Our overarching commitment is to
defend the rights of people worldwide to define their own sexualities and
gender identities. We support the efforts of individuals and groups to
organize to create societies free from heterosexism and homophobia.
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