Amnesty Says Egypt Mistreats Homosexuals
Reuters, December 20, 2001
CAIRO—London-based rights group Amnesty
International accused Egypt on Thursday of persecuting homosexuals and called
on the Arab state to release anyone imprisoned on the basis of sexual
"Gays in Egypt suffer discrimination, persecution and violence simply
for being who they are," it said in a report.
"Amnesty International calls on the Egyptian authorities to release
immediately and unconditionally anyone imprisoned or detained solely for their
actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity," the
London-based group said.
An Egyptian security court sent 23 men to prison for between one and five
years in November on charges including "practising sexual
immorality," a local euphemism for homosexuality.
One of the men was also convicted of "forming a group that aims to
exploit the Islamic religion to propagate extremist ideas" and
"denigrating monotheistic faiths."
Another 29 men were acquitted.
The men were arrested after a raid on the floating Queen Boat nightclub,
known locally as a popular gay venue. Some were arrested elsewhere on the same
Amnesty said Egypt had maltreated the detainees in the first days of
detention, and that they were later subjected to intrusive forensic
examinations, which it said amounted to "cruel, inhuman and degrading
"Detainees reported that they were tortured, including by being beaten
with a stick on the soles of the feet...during the first stages of their
detention," Amnesty said.
Egyptian officials were unavailable for comment. Egypt has said in the past
that it investigates reports of torture and prosecutes any perpetrators.
Egypt has dismissed criticism of the Queen Boat case. One government
official has said the West should not impose its values on Egypt.
Homosexuality is regarded as a taboo in Egypt, but not expressly prohibited
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