Last edited: February 14, 2005

Egypt Shows Evidence in Gay Trial

Associated Press, September 5, 2001

CAIRO, Egypt — Medical tests show that many of the defendants on trial for homosexual relations had practiced gay sex, a prosecutor told a state security court Wednesday.

"Egypt will not be used for the defamation of manhood and will not be a hub for gay communities," Prosecutor Ashraf Hilal told the court in the trial of 52 men accused of debauchery and homosexual acts.

The trial, which has caused uproar in conservative Egypt, stems from a police raid on a Nile boat restaurant on May 11. Police originally said the detainees were taking part in a gay party, but prosecutors later changed tack and said the group was meeting with a self-styled preacher.

Hilal said "many" of the defendants had confessed during police interrogation to having had sex with the first defendant, Sherif Farahat.

Farahat and a second leading defendant, Mahmoud Ahmed Allam, are facing the additional, more serious charges of immoral behavior, contempt of religion, falsely interpreting the Islamic holy book, the Quran, and exploiting Islam to promote deviant ideas.

All 52 defendants have pleaded innocent.

"There are 14 defendants who have undoubtedly participated in gay sexual activity. The doctor’s report confirms that," Hilal told the court.

Farahat’s defense counsel, Farid el-Deeb, told the court that as his client was not among those listed in the doctor’s report, he should be acquitted.

"The defendant should not be held on suspicion just because the doctor could not prove he participated in gay sexual activity," el-Deeb said.

International gay rights’ groups have condemned the trial.

Homosexuality is not explicitly referred to in the laws of Egypt, an Islamic majority country. But a range of laws concerning obscenity and public morality carry prison terms for conviction. Debauchery carries a maximum sentence of three years.

The trial, which began July 18, was adjourned until to Sept. 19.

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