Last edited: February 14, 2005

Defense of Egypt 52 Continue

The following report was sent in by an anonymous contact in Egypt, October 10, 2001

Today, Wednesday October 10, 2001, the trial of the 52 men accused of ‘deriding religion’ and ‘committing immoral acts’ started at 3:15 and finished at 6:30. The Judge listened to the defenses of the lawyers of the detainees from numbers 23-52.

As in the last trial, on the 3rd of October, all the lawyers asserted that the cases should be thrown out on the grounds that proper arrest procedures were not followed, that the arrests were made completely at random with no prior investigations, and that the charges had been fabricated after the arrests. As evidence of this, they pointed out that 4 of the defendants had given false names and addresses to the police, and the ‘investigation reports’ that were cooked later stated that the subjects (with the false names) had been under police surveillance for a while, at those false addresses! These 4 defendants stated their real names and addresses in the courtroom, after which the prosecution asked that the names be changed on the pretext that these false names were really their aliases! However, the prosecution was unable to explain the matter of the false addresses that had allegedly been under surveillance.

One of the young lawyers, Fawzy El Haggan, dropped a bombshell at the end of the hearing by quoting a case with exactly the same details, fabricated for 150 people at almost exactly the same time last year, 25 May 2000, by the same team of arresting officers, led by Taha el Embaby, the prime mover in the case. May is the last month for evaluation of officers’ records, as June is the month when the official reports on officers’ performance come out. The 150 case was thrown out by a judge in a civil court on 27/7/2000 for the lack of any evidence except the officers’ statements—the same as in this case. El Haggan also presented photocopies of 6 case-files from the previous case.

In addition, concerning the forensic examination of the men which purportedly ‘proved’ that many of them had engaged in ‘immoral acts’ (a euphemism for anal sex), El Haggan presented a report stating that there are more than 400 errors in forensics department reports annually, and that both the Cairo and Alexandria forensics departments were officially investigated because of this high rate of error on 23/8/2001, only a few days after the reports on this case were written.

Some lawyers are optimistic, since it became very clear before the judge that the case is completely fabricated, and that the defendants were arrested for a reason other than contempt of religion or practicing debauchery: mainly because of their sexual orientation, although this is not admitted by either the defendants or their lawyers. But most of the lawyers believe that at least some will receive sentences, at least Sherif, the so-called head of the organization, and some of the men with whom he confessed to having sex. However, all concurred that these speculations are dependent on the integrity of the Judge, and that his judgment does not turn out to be manipulated by a phone call from the people who fabricated the case in the first place, or perhaps from even higher up.

At the end of the hearing, the judge adjourned the court until 14 November 2001, at which time the verdict will be announced. This verdict, when it is announced, will not be subject to appeal.

The minor sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment, plus 3 on probation, has appealed his case. The next hearing, also before a juvenile court, will be on 31 October 2001.

There are reports among Cairo’s gay community that arrests are continuing, including an unspecified number of men arrested in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo, and 15 others arrested at a friendly gathering at the home of one of them in Haram, another suburb of Cairo. Although this information comes from reliable sources, the government has placed a complete media blackout on this news. There has been no mention of this whatsoever in the Egyptian media. It seems clear that the Egyptian government has learnt its lesson from the Cairo 52 case; since such unattractive actions as arbitrary arrests and trumped-up charges, if leaked, endanger its reputation among the international community, the best course is to go on doing them, in complete secrecy.

For more information on the Egypt case please visit:

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Amnesty International USA OUTfront Program

Al-Fatiha is an international organization for Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning & their friends! For more info:

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