Egypt Frees One Man, Jails Two Others
PlanetOut.com Network, December 19, 2001
By Tom Musbach
Summary: An alleged gay Egyptian teen had his jail sentence reduced, just a
day after two other men were sentenced to a year each.
An Egyptian teen who had been sentenced to three years in prison for
presumed homosexuality had his jail sentence reduced to six months on
Wednesday, just a day after two other men were sentenced to a year each for
soliciting gay sex on the Internet.
The 16-year-old Mahmoud Abdel-Fatah Ibrahim, who has been jailed since May
11, will be released from prison this week and begin serving six months of
probation. He had been sentenced to three years for "debauchery."
Judge Mostafa Rashad, who presided over Ibrahim’s appeal, cited youth as
a factor in reducing the sentence.
"The child by nature is ignorant, with no religious restraint, and
does not know his interests," the judge said. "This is why the court
saw to a great reduction in his sentence."
Scott Long, program director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human
Rights Campaign (IGLHRC), called the ruling a "tremendous victory."
"Maybe the Egyptian government is starting to get the message,"
he added, "that the arrest and torture of people for their presumed
homosexuality must stop."
The youth’s arrest was part of a roundup of 52 other suspected gay men in
May. Twenty-three of those men have been sentenced from one to five years in
jail after a trial that lasted four months and brought outcries from
international rights groups.
The 23 men cannot appeal their convictions, which must be approved, reduced
or rejected by President Hosni Mubarak. According to the Associated Press,
Mubarak has not yet acted on the rulings.
On Tuesday, a Cairo court convicted Sherif Abu Bakr and Mohammed al-Sawi,
both university students in their early 20s, of publishing indecent photos of
themselves on the Web and offering sexual services, according to an Agence
France-Press news report.
The two students, who received year-long prison terms, were reportedly
arrested in late October when they attempted to meet a rich "client"
who turned out to be an undercover policeman.
Homosexuality is not expressly illegal in Egypt, but it is considered taboo
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