CAIRO — A Cairo court acquitted 26 men of charges of participating in a gay “sex party” at a public bathhouse in December. …
No trial court [previously had] ever cleared Egyptians of charges of homosexuality in a high profile case, say human rights activists.
The case became known throughout Egypt because a television broadcaster named Mona Iraqi was filming when police dragged them naked from the bathhouse on December 7. Iraqi claimed to have tipped police off to sexual activities inside the bathhouse, and she featured it in a program purporting to tell, “the whole story of the dens for spreading AIDS in Egypt,” on the three nights following the raid. …
The Egypt-based Aswat Masriya news organization reported:
The prosecution [had] accused the bath house owner and four others of running the place to “practice, facilitate and incite debauchery.” The 21 other men were accused of “debauchery” and violating public decency.
Human Rights Watch condemned the physical examination the defendants were subjected to, saying it “violates international standards against torture.” Men arrested for alleged homosexual behaviour [in Egypt and some other Middle Eastern countries] usually undergo anal examination.
Covering their faces with sweaters or hats, [the defendants] were marched into the courtroom on Monday, a police officer kicking one and urging them to hurry as they approached a cage used to hold defendants during court sessions.
Highlighting sensitivities in Egypt, a conservative Arab state, people in the court exploded in anger when a journalist took a picture of the men. Someone tried to choke the photographer.
[Defense attorney Tarek] Al-Awady said he would file suit against the officer who led the raid, Lt. Col. Ahmed Hashad, whom lawyers accuse of fabricating his testimony on what he witnessed inside the bathhouse during the raid. He also said he would bring charges against Mona Iraqi. …
One of the pieces of evidence seized upon by defense lawyers was the anal exams performed by police medical experts after their arrest. Egyptian authorities maintain testing the tightness of the anal sphincter can establish whether or not a man is gay, though many international medical experts say the exams are unreliable and human rights groups have denounced them as a violation of basic human rights.
But instead of reporting many of them had been penetrated – as Hashad claims to have seen with his own eyes – the examiners reported only three had “wounds” in the anus. Defense attorney Mohamed Zaki told BuzzFeed News that in these cases the examiners reported scratches or tears, which could be evidence of trauma that actually occurred after the men were in police custody.
One [defendant] told lawyers that he had been raped after the group were thrown into a police cell while still naked alongside other prisoners, said Zaki, who works with the Egyptian Center for Civil Reform, which is representing seven of the defendants.
Zaki said one of the defendants told him that the police presented them to the other prisoners as a prize, recounting the police saying, “today is your lucky day — enjoy, guys! Here’s your lollipop,” using an Egyptian expression that roughly corresponds to “here’s a hot piece of ass” in English. This defendant said he was then stripped of his towel, pushed to the floor, and raped, while police ignored his cries for help.
For more information, read the full articles here:
- Cairo ‘debauchery’ bath house men acquitted (BBC)
- 26 Men Arrested In ‘Cairo Bathhouse Raid For Homosexuality’ Found Innocent (Aswat Masriya/Egyptian Streets)
- Egypt court orders release of 26 men detained over bath house ‘orgy’ (Reuters/The Star)
- Egypt: new arrests; sentence reduced; German MP speaks out (76crimes.com)
- al-Sisi’s Egypt: 40-48 arrests last night, totals now a record 148 (76crimes.com)
- Egypt: 4 sentenced to 3-8 years on gay sex charges (76crimes.com)
- Egypt: 8 imprisoned on anti-gay charges, 23 for protest (76crimes.com)
- 8 jailed on homosexuality charges in Morocco, Egypt (76crimes.com)
- Update: Mona Iraqi fired by shnit film festivals (76crimes.com)
- Slew of arrests in Egypt (76crimes.com)
- Political tactics underlie Egypt’s ‘gay wedding’ arrests (76crimes.com)
- Egypt: A call to protest anti-gay reporting, homophobia (76crimes.com)