Crackdown on LGBT Egyptians: 77 arrests since October

Click on the image for the blog’s list of 168+ people in prison or awaiting trial for homosexuality.
Click on the image for the blog’s list of 168+ people in prison or awaiting trial for homosexuality. (That list has not yet been updated to include the new arrests reported in this article.)

Egyptian activists report that 77 people or more have been arrested by police on homosexuality-related charges since last October.
The activist group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights reported these arrests:

  • December 2013 — Two arrested wearing women’s clothing in Hurgada .
  • February 2014 — Three arrested wearing women’s clothing at nightclub in Hurgada.
  • March 2014 — Five–six arrested, among them one homosexual and one transsexual in Mohandiseen.
  • March 2014 — Nine students arrested in apartment in Alexandria.
  • April 2014 — Two youths arrested wearing women’s clothing in a nightclub in Hurgada.
  • April 2014 — Arrest of one man, Ahmed, while walking in public park wearing women’s clothing.
  • May 2014 — Five arrested in apartment in Nasr City on charges of depraved conduct.
  • May 2014 — Six arrested among them several transsexuals in apartment in Heliopolis; two reportedly have AIDS.

EIPR commented:

“The concern here is not motivated only by the abuses arrested persons may face in police stations or the length of their detention — which is not inconsiderable — but also the possible increased level of social hostility
against them, the threats they may receive from their families, and the possible loss of their jobs and places of residence.”

Activist / commentator Scott Long said in his blog  A Paper Bird:

“What’s distinctive about this particular pattern of arrests isn’t so much its breadth as the peculiar intensity of its assault on intimacy and privacy. The police burst into people’s homes and apartments; they’re seizing those whose main offense is that their clothes and hair are different.”

The EIPR report also included several arrests and prison sentences previously described in this blog:
October 2013 — 14 arrested in bathhouse in Marg. (Reported in this blog as “Seeking public approval, Egyptian police arrest 14 for gay sex.”)
November 2013 — Ten arrested at party in residential area. (Reported in this blog as “Another 10 anti-gay arrests in Egypt.“). One male defendant was sentenced to nine years in prison; other male defendants, to three years. One woman was acquitted.
April 2014 — Four arrested, among them two transsexuals, in apartment in Nasr City. One defendant was sentenced to eight years in prison; the others,  to three years. (Reported in this blog as “Egypt: 4 sentenced to 3-8 years on gay sex charges.”)
The EIPR report also mentioned one earlier incident:
November 2012 — Seven arrested in apartment in Nasr City.
Egyptian activists urged supporters to refrain from public protests against Egypt or public messages by diplomats to the Egyptian government, since those might worsen the situation.
They urged supporters to encourage governments to raise the issue in private and to lobby of popular web sites and apps such as Grindr, Facebook and Whatsapp to raise the issue of their users’ safety, since those sites can be used to target LGBT people.
For much more information, see the full article in A Paper Bird: “Brutal gender crackdown in Egypt: The tomorrows that never came.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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