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Bad news: Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, more

News briefs about countries with anti-gay laws or considering anti-gay legislation, excerpted with slight modifications from UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes recap of the world’s LGBTI-related news.

ASIA

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev (Photo courtesy of RIA Novosti)
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev (Photo courtesy of RIA Novosti)

With a nearly unanimous vote on the second reading, the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan continues to advance its “Gay Propaganda” bill, which would impose penalties of up to a year in prison for those violating the ban. The move sparked criticism from many groups, including the UN Human Rights Office, which noted that in addition to discriminating against LGBT people, the bill would inhibit access to sexual and reproductive health services.  Before becoming law, the bill would need to pass a third reading and be signed by Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev.

The proposal, which is harsher than Russia’s anti-“gay propaganda” law, would also infringe on the rights to freedom from discrimination, freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, as well as on the vital work of human rights defenders conducting important advocacy work to protect the rights of individuals including those who are LGBT. These amendments may also fall foul of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic which provides that “laws that deny or derogate human and civil rights and freedoms shall not be adopted in the Kyrgyz Republic”.

The Human Rights Office said:

“In addition to targeting the LGBT community, the draft law as it stands would inhibit discussion and access to information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to health.

“We strongly encourage the Kyrgyz Republic to stay on the welcome path it has maintained in recent years, and uphold the human rights principles enshrined in the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic which are mirrored in the international treaties it has ratified.”

MIDDLE EAST/ NORTH AFRICA

In Morocco, activists report that 25 Moroccans have been arrested for homosexuality since February.

In Egypt, a Syrian refugee was sentenced to one year in prison on an array of charges related to sexual debauchery after an officer from the Morality Police set up a fake gay hookup date online. The undercover police officer, who was posing as a gay man on social media, chatted with the refugee, arranged to meet him and arrested the man as soon as he arrived on location. The officer later submitted all information, including chat history, to public prosecution, which was used to convict the man.

The defendant was forced to undergo an anal examination, a controversial practice that authorities claim can prove whether the client engages in anal sex. Many international rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, and health specialists have denounced the examinations as medically baseless and amounting to torture. Though the forensic doctor said the anal examination showed no evidence of gay sex, the defendant was convicted nonetheless for charges including “inciting debauchery”, “solicitation to commit immoral acts in public”, “habitual debauchery” and “debauchery”.

The defendant’s lawyer Ahmed Hossam said “The crime was in the imagination of the officer himself. No debauchery happened. Second, sending personal messages is unconstitutional? Searching an innocent person isn’t allowed according to criminal procedure code in Egypt.” The undercover officer kept pressuring his client to meet after he bailed multiple times, which Hossam argued shows clear entrapment on the officer’s part.

In Syria, ISIS executed 4 more men under suspicion of being gay. Tweeting pictures of the murders, the hashtag #LoveWins was invoked, linking them to tweets supporting marriage equality.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria’s women’s national soccer team (Photo courtesy of Nigeria's The Guardian)
Nigeria’s women’s national soccer team (Photo courtesy of Nigeria’s The Guardian)

Nigeria‘s women’s national soccer team is a deeply faithful team, praying in small groups on the field before beginning warm-ups for each match and dropping to their knees to do the same following goals they score, including both Muslim and Christian faiths. Yet, a source tells Sports Illustrated that at least two players who would be on the team for the 2015 World Cup are not because they are thought to be gay.

“If a player comes out and says, ‘I’m gay,’ then the trouble doesn’t just start and end with the player,” the source says, according to Nigeria’s The Guardian. “It goes all the way back to the family: parents, sisters, brothers, cousins, everything. One person just sparks off a chain reaction. That’s why it’s so tough.”
 

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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