Last edited: February 14, 2005

Defendant in Egypt Gay Sex Trial Accused of Belonging to Jihad

Agence France-Presse, October 10, 2001

CAIRO—Egyptian security services have accused the chief suspect in the case of the 52 Egyptians on trial for practicing gay sex of belonging to the Islamist terrorist organisation Jihad, his lawyer Farid al-Dib said Wednesday.

The main accused, Sherif Farhat, "was arrested for contempt of Islam, and when we protested against his arrest, the security services handed us a memorandum showing he was an active member of the Jihad movement," Dib said.

The lawyer made this declaration as another session of the trial was held Wednesday in Cairo’s High State Security Court.

He said the memorandum contains a "contradiction", because belonging to an Islamist movement is not compatible with homosexuality, since it is banned by Islam.

The verdict is due to be pronounced on November 14.

Jihad has links with Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the September 11 terror attacks on the United States. It waged a campaign against the Egyptian government during the mid-1990s, targetting tourists and other government interests.

Many of the men, most of them in their 20s, were reportedly arrested following a May 11 evening on the Queen Boat nightclub on the Nile. Several defendants were arrested elsewhere.

They could be sentenced to three years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

The practice of homosexuality is not explicitly prohibited under Egyptian law, which is based on Sharia, or Islamic law. But numerous statutes punish conduct deemed to be an affront to public morality.

The trial opened in mid-July.

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