1. Ahmed
    Ahmed at |

    this article incorrectly states that male homosexuality is criminalised by law, which is not true. Homosexuals get arrested under a “debauchery law” which has very vague guidelines that gives law enforcers the ability to do so.

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  2. rana
    rana at |

    This is simply infuriating…and the hunt down won’t stop there. With dakhlaya now sniffing around people’s online presence, who knows what crime will be knocking on one’s door tomorrow.
    Its the era of the zombie, army loving, conformists.
    A sadly spot on article.

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  3. scottlong1980
    scottlong1980 at |

    There is plenty of dispute in Egypt about whether “homosexuality” is “criminalized” or not. The term “fugur” is of course vague, but so are “sodomy” and “buggery” and “unnatural acts” in the English legal tradition. (“Sodomy” originally could refer to sex between humans and animals, or between Christians and Jews or Muslims. In many jurisdictions it still includes bestiality and anal sex between a man and a woman.) Nonetheless, there is no question that these terms have come to include homosexual conduct between adult males, and to criminalize it. “Fugur” is a very comparable term. It meant a lot of different things when first introduced into Egyptian law (from French law, where it usually meant moral corruption of another person). However, a widely cited Cassation Court decision of 1970 clearly established that it criminalized consensual, non-consensual homosexual conduct between adult males. This decision is the standing interpretation of “Fugur” in Egyptian law. So I don’t see how the term is any vaguer than “sodomy”; it is, in fact, quite comparable as a term of art. In any case, there is no question that as long as that Cassation Court decision stands, homosexual conduct between men is a criminal act.
    The ILGA report is wrong. They didn’t read the relevant court decisions, and they seemed to have the notion that if an Arabic law didn’t say “homosexuality” (for which, of course, there’s no exact synonym in Arabic) it couldn’t be said to criminalize it. This is a misconception which certainly didn’t govern their approach to “sodomy” or “buggery” laws.
    The notion that the law (no. 10/1961, actually passed in 1951) doesn’t “really” criminalize homosexual conduct stems from a strategic decision that Egyptian activists made in 2003-2004. The idea was that a case could eventually be taken to the Cassation Court, which could be asked to reverse its decision of 1970 and find that only commercial sex was criminalized under the aw. I wasn’t crazy about this strategy, since it would have sold sex workers down the river. However, it’s a moot point now. Given the present composition of the Cassation Court, and the erosion of judicial independence in Egypt, there’s almost no chance the Court would reverse itself. I don’t see the point of carrying on the pretense that “fugur” doesn’t “really” include male homosexual conduct.

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  4. scottlong1980
    scottlong1980 at |

    Article 278 of the Penal Code, by the way, has not so far as I know been cited in any case involving homosexual conduct since 2003. Even then it was quite rarely cited, and was only used in cases involving Internet ads (the “scandalous act” committed “in public”). The core charge was absolutely always “fugur” under article 9c of Law 10/1961, to which occasional other charges were tacked on. I don’t know why ILGA got these facts so wrong.
    The “guidelines” around “fugur” and its application to male homosexual conduct are not vague. They are clear, and they were set out in the Cassation Court ruling mentioned above (I’m afraid I got the year wrong: it was 1975). The exact citation is Cassation Court case no. 683/Judicial Year 45, May 12, 1975.

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