Last edited: January 03, 2005

German MPs Want Egypt to End Trial of Homosexuals

Reuters, September 5, 2001

BERLIN—A group of German parliamentarians called on Egypt on Wednesday to end a controversial trial of 52 suspected homosexual men accused of sexual immorality.

In a letter sent to the Egyptian ambassador, a cross-party group of 30 parliamentarians called on Cairo to stop the court case, which began in July, and release the men immediately.

"I hope that the accusations against this group of men will be dropped and that they will be released without delay.

"That should have happened a long time ago if Egyptian law and international conventions ratified by Egypt had been respected," said the letter signed by the parliamentarians.

The letter also calls on the Egyptian government to investigate accusations of mistreatment and torture of the men.

The main charge against them is of "sexual immorality," which carries a maximum penalty of three years.

The two main defendants face additional charges of "forming a group which aims to exploit the Islamic religion to propagate extremist ideas" and "denigrating monotheistic religions," which carry a maximum five-year sentence.

International human rights organisations have said the men were being tried on account of their possible sexual orientation and for exercising freedom of speech and association.

Homosexuality is taboo in Egypt, but not expressly prohibited by law.

The initiator of the protest letter, Green Party politician Volker Beck, fought for 11 years for a law allowing homosexual couples to have similar rights to heterosexuals, which was passed in Germany last month.

[Home] [News] [Egypt]