GAY in EGYPT 
TBC Eye on GLBT News Special Report
By R. Zeke Fread
 
If your a "Gay Man", happen to live in Egypt, then your also a "Gay Target" of the police.  At each and every turn, out and about, at a party on a boat, or at home just surfing the net. Their eyes always watching for gay men, being gay men. Homosexuality is illegal in Egypt and it is forbidden for members of the same-sex to have activity [sex) together.

Homosexuals are considered perverts and Satanist. This opinion is not only that of the police, it is shared by the government, military and it seems a large segment of the Egyptian public. Police allege, that those arrested are being investigated for acts of exploiting religion for their own ends, they were practicing deviant rituals, had practiced group sex and abnormal activities.

The police are on a constant vigil in search of catching gay men doing what gay men do. They scour chat rooms and personal homepages or gay related web sites on the internet. They lurk in chat rooms looking for gays men trying to meet, hook up with other, or hustle their sexual favors to gay men willing to pay for such favors. If you do meet someone on the net and arrange a meeting. That gay man you had planned to meet, may very well not be the man of your dreams, he could be the man in your nightmares. Should he be one of those who was interested in paying for your sexual favors, then your about to experience your worst nightmare. 

Three more gay men had their worst nightmare come true last month. According to an April 6th article by The Rainbow Network, suspected of attempting to procure sex with other men on the web. Prosecutors had ordered the men remanded in custody pending investigation. Net friends turn out to be the morality police. Now these three men accused of starting web sites with pornographic pictures and encouraging homosexual relations. This is a very serious situation these men find themselves in. In February this year, two men were convicted for "defaming Egypt" and an unspecified "indecent act" after posting on their web site they were soliciting sex either paid or unpaid. The court declared they had "abused the technological revolution to do their disgraceful act which defames Egypt" The two men, a computer engineer received 15 months and an accountant 3 months in jail by the Cairo criminal court, according to Ananova.com.  Then on May 5th, 2001, A student was arrested in Egypt, for allegedly offering his sexual services to rich Arabs on the net.  Ahemd lbrahim Abu el~Dahab 19, was arrested in a cafe, the man he arranged to met turned out to be yet another undercover police officer. Charged with committing an indecent act, he stands accused of posting obscene photos of himself on his home page. If found guilty of these charges, he faces up to three years jail.
 
Intensifying the crack down on gay men, a hundred, soldiers, state security forces and "homosexual vice squad" gathered together along the banks of the River Nile in Zamalek, Cairo. In the very early morning hours on May 11th, ten undercover officers slipped aboard The Queen Boat Discotheque. They started to secretly video tape the Egyptians enjoying a night out at the Discotheque. Parties are held twice a week on the Queen Boat, but, this was about to change the meaning of party. It was shortly before 2 a.m., when those surrounding the boat entered and began to arrest the suspects aboard the boat, as GayEgypt.com has reported. Several gay foreigners who were aboard witnessed the arrests but, were not detained. They said, each man arrested  were verbally ridiculed the police as they were being dragged to waiting police vans. The men arrested were taken to Abdin police station. Some said to be badly beaten, a total of forty were arrested on The Queen Boat Discotheque. Police then proceeded to apartments in Heliopolis, Hadayek Qubla and Maadia, they made twenty-two additional arrests. The raid netted a total of sixty-two young gay men and included three doctors and computer company owner.  Al Wafd newspaper reported that prisoners were subjected to medical examinations to determine if signs of anal penetration were present. The men arrested, subsequently, were charged with, "Exploiting religion to promote extreme ideas, to create strife and belittling revealed religion. Being accused variously of  Perversion and Satanism. It is alleged many had taken part in a sex party whilst on the boat. If found guilty, the men face up to five years in prison, according to GayEgypt.com. With no out cry from the public, Egypt's human rights organizations are strangely silent and local news papers scream perverts, Satanists, devil worshippers and highest punishment should be imposed to deter others from this perversion. A list of those arrested published  in several newspapers papers, included name, age, profession and employers. Such as company owners and doctors pictures were prominently displayed on front pages of newspapers. Where're those shouting injustice, violation of basic human rights and have compassion. GayEgypt.com posted this eye-witness account of the storm troopers type raid on our Egyptian brothers.
 
Be that as it may, 62 men are in jail after a raid by the "Morality Police" crackdown on Gay men. There is much fear for 50 of the 62 who have not been heard from since taken into custody . Prevailing atmosphere of distaste held for gays, causes concern about their treatment they are enduring while in jail. It is reported the treatment detainees undergo while in Egypt's jails is horrific. An Amnesty International news release  was titled, "Egypt: Torture Remains Ripe as Cries for Justice Go Unheeded". The opinion held by most police about gays is of being perverse and mentally abnormal. With such a low opinion of Gay men as they share, any fears of physical abuse could be well founded. And support of those jailed by human rights groups has been termed lukewarm. GayEgypt.com reports Samir Al Bagouri of the Association on Human Rights Legal Aid said, "We generally defend liberties but there are red lines we should stop at". Family members, relatives and friends wait outside the State Security hour after hour, one could hardly imagine their pain and anguish. All with the hope of seeing their loved one and at the least, learn any information about them. They are shown the same compassion those arrested were, none! But, at the moment they are not being beaten, ridiculed or dragged to waiting vans and taken to jail. GayEgypt.com posted this witness account to this profoundly heart wrenching scene. It is so very detailed and visually descriptive, you may find it difficult to make it through the whole account. I took three breaks, to finish it. I was left in total disbelief, this is 2001 and this is happening at this very moment. Thoughts of thanks I don't live in Egypt, but, this thought is quickly replaced with feeling outrage and hopelessness in being able to help.
 
After Amnesty International drew attention to the plight of those arrested treatment and conditions they must endure. National media and human rights organizations start to investigate the injustice and human rights violations these gay men are being subjected to. The Rainbow Network posts an article regarding the constant flow of disinformation surrounding Egypt's gay men arrests on June 6, 2001.
 
Response to Amnesty International's Statements and  Involvement in Egypt's Persecution of Gay Detainees. If you haven't be offended by bigoted and severe homophobic attitudes andcomments, you are about to be. GayEgytp.com Special Report.
 
As news on the detainee's conditions in jail surface, it is evident mistreatment and rights violations are extensive.  Imprisoned since their arrests in the early morning hours, 2:00 A.M, of  May 11th, concern for the well being for these gay men has spread world wide. It's not only a few gay news services that are posting articles, just about every gay news services world wide is covering the arrests in Egypt. Humanrights organizations are expressing great concern for those being held in prison in Egypt. With Amnesty International, who has been looking into the arrest early on, are saying they are gravely concerned about on going detention of scores of Gay Men. Amnesty International believes most, if not all, of the men are
being detained on the grounds of their "alleged" sexual orientation. If ones sexual orientation is the sole reason for their being detained, Amnesty International would consider them prisoners of conscience and would call for their immediate and unconditional release.
 
Egyptian newspapers coverage has portrayed those arrested in such a negative light and constantly centered their coverage on the men's alleged sexual orientation. After alleging the men were devil worshippers and Satanists, involved in perversion and perverts. Releasing as much personal information on each man as can obtain. As you can see by the list posted above, names, ages, occupation, employer and one case the family address of man. They reported on the day of the raid, each of those arrested were subjected to an examination. The purpose of the examination was to determine whether they were anally penetrated or practiced anal sex. With forensic medical examination results on rectal exams recently released, causes one to wonder, how soon will it take the Egyptian news media to publish this information.
 
The next organization to express concern for the jailed Gay Egyptians is the European Union. Following the Amnesty International statement expressing grave concern over the arrest and detention of more than 50 Gay men in Egypt. The E.U is reported to be weighing formal intervention on the prisoners behalf. Only last month, on the 25th of June, Egypt and European Union were to sign an association agreement. [I have not been able to verify signing took place.] A clause in the agreement, demands respect for human rights, included was freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The 15 Member-States are considering a formal approach to Egypt over the arrests. The Commission is monitoring the case closely.
 
It is now the end of June, the 28th, it must seen like an eternity to those prisoners in Egypt. The recent news is from The Gay Financial Network, Egyptians Face Trail on Gay Sex Charges, unfortunately, still no date is set and few if any at all have been released. With the Forth of July comes the good news that Human Rights Watch, {HRW}, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, {IGLHRC} released a joint statement of condemnation of the men's arrest and  detention. Expressing grave concern that the men have been subjected to torture in detention. Both International Human Rights groups deplored the Egyptian government's decision to prosecute fifty-two men charging "obscene behavior" and expressing "contempt for religion".  HRW and IGLHRC Statement on Gay Egyptian arrests and background
 
July 18, 2001:
More than 50 suspected homosexuals have gone on trail in Egypt in a case that is sure to draw widespread criticism from human rights groups. Egypt law does not expressly prohibit homosexuality, thus the men are standing trial in state security court on charges of, "propagating extremist ideas and for debauchery". Egyptian Men on Trail for Gay Party. Charges Include:  Exploiting the Islamic religion, Spreading extremist ideas, Sparking civil strife, Practicing debauchery with men, Egyptian Men on trail for Gay Party
 
July 19th. & 20th. 2001
All prisoners pleaded innocent, two men to charges of "disdain of religion and practicing immoral acts". The fifty other men to "practicing immoral acts", charges which resulted from the forced invasive exam each man was subjected to immediately upon their arriving. This truly represents an unwilling immoral act committed on the men. Yet, no charges brought against the person who performed the examination or, to the morality police who ordered the men to submit to this violation and invasion of their bodies. The anguish and suffering caused by this inhuman persecution, extends far beyond just the detainees. Their families, loved ones and friends are forced to endure unimaginable heart ache. With the men held incommunicado, their families have no contact what so ever with the men. The community and Egyptian society have adjudged the men guilty, even without a verdict. Relatives are verbally berated as they walk down streets, walls painted with degrading and insulting graffiti. Even the Police torment and ridicule them for bringing disgrace to the men. Family and friends were banned from attending the hearing. As spectators hurled insults and called the prisoners "perverts" as police vans drove them away. Family members unable to control their emotional distress, became furious at the sight of photographers trying to take pictures of the men. Some attacked then and a brother got into a fight with one spectators who called his brother a "faggot". The trials will start again on August 15th, when defense lawyers will begin their arguments. Persecutor [Prosecutor] General indicated the trail may go on for months. This will expose the men and their families, to continued torment, abuse and ridicule. The whole world is watching the reprehensible and immoral actions of police and persecutors [prosecutors] toward this men. Albeit, sickening to all who are watching, it also serves to rekindle memories of another abusive trial. That of  Egypt's leading human rights advocate, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who was sentenced in May to seven years in prison. His crime,not homosexuality, he was promoting democracy and religious tolerance. These two cases expose the political and religious agenda of Islamic Conservatives and Egyptian Government of President Hosni Mubarak. As far as their intended purpose, I am not an expert, I submit this article as a possible motive. The common thread Gay's in the USA and Gays in Egypt share, is the religious controls on our governments laws and legislation on Gay Human and Civil Rights. Should the religious factor be removed from our governments. There would remain no other reason what so ever, for the persecution or denial of civil and human rights of Gay members of both our countries. This trial was a nightmare for the gay men and their hell will continue for months so it seems.
 
GayEgypt.com is calling for a Tourist Boycott of Egypt, until the Gay Men are released and charges are dropped. Should you be Gay Tourists planning a trip to Egypt, you had better watch your every move while in Egypt. Be assured, your every move will be watched by the morality police. Although, Gay foreigners were present at the Queen Boat raid and were not arrested. The atmosphere, attitudes and treatment of gays, the gay men arrested and their families by a majority of society in Egypt, should be cause for concern for one personal safety at this time.
 
August 1, 2001:
Hossam Bahgat, Human Rights Activist, who was leading the call for justice for the detainees. Hossam's article puts into perspective why the government and police are targeting gay. Al-Ahram Online Weekly, published in Cairo, ran an article, "Ethics in the Balance". It explores the attitudes of those who control the Egyptian press, who have been ruthless in their attacks on the men and homosexuality, and their resentment toward such groups as Amnesty International, A.I., and Human Rights Watch, H.R.W.. Their statements that, "Expressed grave concern about the detention of men in connection with their sexual", has infuriated some of the Egyptian press. Some newspapers attacks on A.I. and H.R.W. have accused them of meddling in Egypt's internal affairs and imposing their beliefs on Egyptian culture. To this Human Rights Watch, Middle East and Northern Africa executive director Hany Megally, simply responds, "There is no law against homosexuality in Egypt, our aim is to see the rule of law and to safeguard human rights", he adds "The only thing we can ask for is to have an international observer". Needless to say, it isn't likely that this will happen with the anti-foreigner input into Egypt's internal affairs. Included in this posting are a few other article, "Bothered and Bewildered", "The paradox of Egypt's open door policy, religious persecution of their
citizens and violations of basic human rights. "On to the Next Chapter" Uproar of human rights organizations
at home and abroad over the imprisonment of Saadeddin Ibrahim, a sociology professor at the American University in Cairo, AUC and NGO activist, for seven years and "The Circus is in Town", trying to get the facts about the 52 Gay Men arrests. These articles are from May, June and August of this year, they offer various outlooks into the policy and workings of the Egyptian government. I found them to be interesting and informative. I hope you do to. Read Articles.
 
August 3rd, 2001:
35 U.S. House of Representatives sign a letter sent to Egypt's President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak. The letter was drafted by Rep. Barney Frank and co-sponsored by Rep Tom Lantos. Those who signed, state their strong disapproval of the gay Men's arrest and declare the prosecution of the men indefensible. The call for worldwide protests has been called for by various human rights organizations. August 15th, has been declared a Day of Support, Mourning and Solidarity, for the 52 Detainees. Read this Action Alert including the letter to Egypt's President, sent out by TBC to our membership and supporters. Read TBC Action Alert. 
 
August 15th, 2001:
With the resumption of the 52 detainees trail, I have collected articles from several online news organizations
worldwide, The Gay Financial Network, BBC UK and 365Gay.com Newscenter, and posted them here for your perusal. Read Articles.
 
Editors Note: They are eager to welcome Gay and Lesbian U. S. taxpayers aide of millions of dollars into Egypt, yet persecute Gays at the same time. This hypocrisy, should not remain to continue, not one dollar of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender taxpayers contributions should go in support of the Egyptian government and economy.
 
August 29, 2001:
The Immorality Trail of 52 Gay Men Reconvenes in Egypt. Defense lawyers for the 52 gay men told the Judge, the case has no place in State Security Court, because it leaves the men no avenue or rights for appeal. Five western diplomats observed the trial, one said, "We are concerned about this case, and we attach great importance to freedom of sexual orientation". As in the past, all family members continue to be denied the right to observe the proceedings. Read Article, by Gay.com and Article, by Middle East Times. Trial to continue on September 5, 2001.
 
September 5, 2001:
As the trial convenes for another section a new voice is heard for the men's release. German government officials join with other countries, in sending a letter to Egypt's President condemning the prosecution of the 52 Gay men. Read the press release and text of their letter. Reports by the 52 detainees of alleged charges of being subjected to weekly torture sessions since their arrests. This is a concern to the western diplomats observing the trial. Email received from the Gay & Lesbian Arabs Online on trial. The trial will continue on September 18, 2001.
 
By R. Zeke Fread
Editor Eye on GLBT News
 
Resources for this story
Gay Egypt: www.gayeygpt.com/index.html .
Al-Ahram:www.ahram.org/ .
Cario Times: www.cariotimes.com  ..
Gay.com.UK: www.gay.com.uk.com/ 
The Rainbow Network:www.rainbownetwork.com
Amnesty International; www.amnesty.org
Human Rights Watch; www.hrw.org/
International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission; www.iglhrc.org
The New York Times; www.nytimes.com .
BBC New Online: http://news.bcc.co.uk/
The Gay Financial Network; www.gfn.com  
The Datalounge: www.datalounge.com/datalounge
Independent.co.uk News: www.independent.co.uk .
Middle East Times: www.metimes.com  .
Gays and Lesbian Arabs Online: www.glas.org/ahbab
 
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