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ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT: Egypt escalates LGBTI crackdown with fresh wave of arrests and anal examinations

6 Oct 2017
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity

On 23 September, a day after the Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo, a man was arrested on charges of “debauchery” and was sentenced last week to six years in prison, followed by six years of probation. The Egyptian authorities have arrested 33 LGBTI people since the Public Prosecutor announced an investigation after a rainbow flag was displayed at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo provoking a public outcry on 25 September. The Forensic Medical Authority has carried out anal examinations on at least five of those arrested.

All 33 people detained are facing prosecutor interrogations and significantly expedited trial proceedings. According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, at least 10 people were arrested between 28 and 30 September and put on trial yesterday, alongside another six who were arrested earlier in the week.

On 1 October one man was detained in Damietta in relation to the rainbow flag incident. Six further people were also detained in Cairo for promoting “habitual debauchery and four further in Giza, also in the last 48 hours.

The authorities also detained one woman suspected of raising the rainbow flag at the concert. She has been charged with “promoting sexual deviancy” and “habitual debauchery” in the first such incident involving a woman in years.

“The Egyptian authorities’ announcement that they are investigating the rainbow flag incident as a criminal act is utterly absurd. No one should be punished for expressing solidarity with LGBTI individuals or based on their perceived sexual orientation,” said Najia Bounaim.

"This is the worst crackdown against people based on their perceived sexual orientation since the mass arrests of 52 people following a raid on the Queen Boat, a floating nightclub on the Nile, in 2001.” Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the 33 who have been detained and halt all plans to carry out further anal examinations. Such tests violate the prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment under international law.


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