Egyptian police have arrested another 10 allegedly LGBTI people, bringing the total of such arrests to more than 85 since September and more than 230 since 2013. Most of Egypt’s international allies have looked on in silence.
More Arrests in Egypt’s LGBT Crackdown, but No International Outcry
10 Held by Police at Risk of Torture
By Neela Ghoshal
This week Egyptian police arrested 10 people in the latest assault on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the country under the rule of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. But in the face of relentless persecution of sexual and gender minorities in Egypt, world leaders remain largely silent – or worse, praise al-Sisi as a “moderate” leader.
Police arrested the 10 in Alexandria on January 14, accusing them of “debauchery,” the Egyptian authorities’ catchall term for anyone suspected of homosexual conduct or of simply being gay or transgender. According to media, police claimed they received reports of, “weird” men visiting an apartment – apparently reason enough to conduct a raid.
The latest arrests bring to more than 85 the number reported to have been caught up in a massive crackdown on LGBT people since several young people waved a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert in September. Many of those targeted are gay men and transgender women, or men perceived to be effeminate. More than 40 have received prison sentences, with some subjected to forced anal exams, a form of torture. One, Ahmed Alaa, remains in pretrial detention after more than three months, activists say, despite a January 2 court order for his release on bail.
Since al-Sisi took power in 2013, more than 230 people have been prosecuted on “debauchery” charges, according to a November 2017 report from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). The report details horrific police abuse. “They hit our faces and they electrocuted our private parts,” said a trans woman arrested in 2014. A man arrested in 2013 said: “They stripped us and made fun of us and were trying to insert batons in our rear ends.”
With 10 suspected gay and trans people in the hands of Alexandria police, such torture could be happening now. Governments in Europe and North America that provide police and military aid to Egypt maintain a deafening silence about the crackdown, apparently unwilling to offend a partner in the “war on terrorism.” Who will speak up for the victims of Egypt’s state-sponsored homophobia and demand an end to these abuses?
Update: After this dispatch was published, Human Rights Watch learned that Ahmed Alaa was released on bail on the evening of January 21. The case against Alaa for allegedly waving a rainbow flag remains open, although no trial date has been set.
- Egyptian activists: Anti-LGBT repression is getting worse (December 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Boycott, video and more seek to block Egypt’s anti-gay bill (November 2017, 76crimes.com)
- ‘Wipe-Out-the-Queers’ Bill would expand Egypt’s crackdown (November 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Egypt: Draft Law Criminalizes Homosexuality (Nov. 1, 2017, Global Legal Monitor)
- TweetStorm seeks end to Egypt’s anti-LGBT arrests (October 27, 76crimes.com)
- Anti-LGBT arrests: 50+ groups blast Egypt repression (
- LGBT people in Egypt targeted in wave of arrests and violence (October 2017, The Guardian)
- Egypt outage: 7 arrests for rainbow flag; but 274 others? (September 26, 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Egypt arrests 7 for raising rainbow flag at indy rock gig (Sept. 25, 2017, Associated Press)
- Seven arrested in Egypt after raising rainbow flag at concert (Sept. 25, 2017, Reuters)
- How ‘debauchery’ law set up Egypt’s gay crackdown (June 2014, 76crimes.com)
- 11 Egyptians sentenced to prison for homosexuality (April 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Why such silence in Egypt amid anti-LGBTI crackdown? (April 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Egypt crackdown targets human rights defenders
- 20 LGBTI-related arrests in Egypt, Indonesia (September 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Egypt’s LGBTI crackdown continues; what can be done? (March 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Egyptian Reporter Mona Iraqi And Her Channel Owner To Face Criminal Charges Over Gay Bathhouse Raid (February 2015, Towle Road)
- Slew of arrests in Egypt (November 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Egypt: 8 imprisoned on anti-gay charges, 23 for protest (November 2014, 76crimes.com)
- 8 jailed on homosexuality charges in Morocco, Egypt (October 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Political tactics underlie Egypt’s ‘gay wedding’ arrests (September 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Crackdown on LGBT Egyptians: Why now? (May 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Another 10 anti-gay arrests in Egypt (November 2013, 76crimes.com)
- Seeking public approval, Egyptian police arrest 14 for gay sex (October 2013, 76crimes.com)