Last edited: January 01, 2005

Egypt Jails Gay Youth

The trial of the other defendants is continuing, September 18, 2001

In a trial that has attracted international attention, an Egyptian court has sentenced a young man to three years in prison for debauchery. The youth, reported to be 15 years old, was found guilty of "practising sexual immorality".

He is one of 52 men arrested in May during a raid on a floating nightclub on the Nile. Two of the main defendants are also facing charges of forming an extremist group and denigrating Islam.

The case has been criticised by human rights groups who said the men were subjected to examinations to see if they had engaged in homosexual acts.

Although homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, it is a major cultural and social taboo.

The young man was tried in a different court because of his age and will serve his sentence in a prison for young offenders, court officials said.

The trial of the other defendants, in the state security court where verdicts cannot be appealed, is expected to continue this week. All have pleaded not guilty.

Their names and some of their addresses have been published in Egyptian newspapers.

And defence lawyers say the press has already convicted them by publishing lurid and false accounts of gay orgies on board the boat, where most of the men were detained.

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