German Leaders Call for End to Egypt Trial
PlanetOut.com Network, September 5, 2001
By Tom Musbach
SUMMARY: As prosecutors argued their case against 52 suspected
"immoral" men Wednesday in Egypt, German parliamentarians called for
an end to the trial and the immediate release of the detained men.
As prosecutors argued their case against 52 suspected "immoral"
men Wednesday in Egypt, German parliamentarians called for an end to the trial
and the immediate release of the detained men, according to Reuters.
A cross-party group of 30 German leaders has sent a letter to the Egyptian
ambassador urging a halt to the trial, which began in July.
The letter, initiated by Green Party politician Volker Beck, also asked
Egyptian authorities to investigate reports that the detained men have been
In Egypt, prosecutor Ashraf Helal reportedly told the court Wednesday,
"Egypt has not and will not be a den for the corruption of manhood, and
homosexual groups will not establish themselves here."
The 52 defendants, arrested in May on a floating disco on the Nile River
called the "Queen Boat," face charges of "practicing sexual
immorality" a euphemism for homosexuality, which is considered taboo
but not illegal in Egypt.
Prosecutors also accused the group of using the Internet to promote
homosexuality. If convicted, the accused face a maximum penalty of three years
in prison and a minimum fine of 300 Egyptian pounds ($70).
International activists and human rights groups have denounced the trial,
which has received extensive media coverage. The defendants, who reportedly
appeared in court in a large black cage, are being tried under an emergency
law designed to counter Muslim violence. Established in 1981, the measure
denies the men the right of appeal.
"This perversion of justice must stop," said Surina Khan,
executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
Commission (IGLHRC). "We call on the Egyptian government to repeal the
two-decade old emergency legislation permitting trials with no appeal."
In other trial news, 365Gay.com reports that a diplomat from the Canadian
embassy will join representatives from the United States, Belgium, Switzerland
and Denmark to monitor the trial.
The trial reconvenes on Sept. 19.
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