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Egypt: 4 sentenced to 3-8 years on gay sex charges

Agence France-Presse reports via Al Arabiya News:

A court in Egypt sentenced four men to up to eight years in prison on Monday for practicing homosexuality, a judicial official said.

Prosecutors had accused the men of holding “deviant parties” and dressing in women’s clothes. Three were sentenced to eight years and the fourth to three years in prison.

Location of Nasr City, Cairo, in Egypt. (Courtesy of Google Maps)
Location of Nasr City, Cairo, in Egypt. (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Egyptian police typically arrest LGBT people on charges of “sexual immorality” or “debauchery” because the country does not have a law explicitly banning homosexual activity.

In recent months, police have staged at least two widely publicized raids against allegedly LGBT people.

Police arrested 10 people on Nov. 5 on homosexuality-related charges in a  Cairo suburb.

In early October 2013, police arrested 14 men for allegedly engaging in gay sex at a gym/sauna in a working-class district of Cairo.

BuzzFeed reported:

An activist who works with the city’s LGBTQ community said the men had attended a party in an apartment that doubled as a meeting point for their community when they were arrested.

“Police have been increasingly targeting us in areas in which we were previous safe,” said Ahmed, who asked to be quoted only by his first name due to fears over his own safety. “These areas that we could previously go to and gather and police would turn the other way, now they are coming to arrest us there.”

Those areas range from apartments in private buildings, to offices known as spas or health centers, which are often little more than a set of rooms with a hot tub.

The men who were sentenced on Monday were arrested in a private apartment in Nasr city within the last month, although Egyptian activists and court papers did not list an exact date of arrest.

“There have been nearly a dozen cases of arrest in the last few months and we aren’t sure when this arrest happened,” said Ahmed. “There are arrests we don’t even hear about, it seems police are actively searching for gay men to arrest.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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