Amnesty Slams "Immorality" Charge for Egyptian Boy
Reuters, October 30, 2001
CAIRO—Human rights group Amnesty International
called on Egypt on Tuesday to free a teenager jailed for three years for
"practising sexual immorality."
Prosecutors said the boy, now 16, was arrested along with 52 other men in a
raid on a floating Nile nightclub called the Queen Boat, known locally as a
popular gay night spot.
Then 15, he was sentenced to three years in juvenile detention last month,
the maximum sentence he could receive. He faces an appeal hearing on
Wednesday, Amnesty said.
"We are extremely concerned about the conviction and harsh sentencing
of a child for his alleged sexual orientation," Amnesty said in a joint
statement with the New York-based Human Rights Watch and two other rights
"We are seriously concerned that this child was interrogated in
violation of international standards," it said.
Amnesty said the 52 other men had reported being subjected to torture and
ill-treatment during pre-trial detention, and that it knows of no impartial
investigation into those allegations.
Those men are being tried in a state security court under emergency law and
will not be allowed to appeal their verdict, due out next month.
Amnesty did not say whether it thought the boy had been tortured, but said
during his first two weeks of detention he was not allowed to see his family
or a lawyer.
Amnesty also disputed the prosecutors’ claims the boy was arrested in the
Queen Boat raid, saying he was arrested in downtown Cairo a day later.
The Queen Boat case has drawn sharp criticism from international rights
groups, which say the men are being tried for their possible sexual
orientation and for exercising freedom of speech and association. All
defendants plead not guilty.
Homosexuality is regarded as taboo in Egypt, but is not expressly
prohibited by law.
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