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Crime

15 people stand trial for ‘debauchery’ in Egypt after ‘anal examinations’

Joseph McCormick October 1, 2017
Mashrou' Leila

A picture taken of the band on the night of the gig (Photo by مشروع ليلى Mashrou' Leila/Facebook)

Fifteen people are set to stand trial in Egypt, accused of “acts of debauchery”.

The accused have also been subjected to the widely condemned practice of ‘anal examinations,’ apparently to gather whether they regularly have anal sex.

They will stand trial at a misdemeanour court, arrested for “violating the teachings of religion and public morals”.

The state-owned Al-Ahram institution said those arrested are accused of being gay.

The fifteen people had reportedly attended a Mashrou Leila concert on 22 September, where some of them waved a rainbow flag.

Arrests have been made as part of a wider crackdown on LGBT+ people in Egypt, where being gay isn’t illegal, but the “debauchery” and “sexual deviancy” laws are used.

The singer of the band is openly gay and at the concert, the people waved a Pride flag.

They have since been wrongfully arrested and charged with “inciting immorality” as they allegedly promoted homosexuality by raising the flag.

Seven others were also detained earlier this week, but human rights organisations say their whereabouts were unknown.

A student was imprisoned for six years in Egypt on 28 September for “practising debauchery” and fined.

Earlier this week it was reported that six people had been subjected to anal “examinations” ahead of their trial.

They are accused of promoting “promoting sexual deviancy” and “debauchery” on social media.

On Saturday, Amnesty International said the six people have been told they will be subjected to anal examinations ahead of their trial.

The examinations were ordered by Egypt’s Forensic Medicine Authority.

Human Rights Watch condemned the examinations.

“Whether they were waving a rainbow flag, chatting on a dating app, or minding their own business in the streets, all these debauchery arrest victims should be immediately released,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“The Egyptian government, by rounding people up based on their presumed sexual orientation, is showing flagrant disregard for their rights.”

“Egypt should stop dedicating state resources to hunting people down for what they allegedly do in their bedrooms, or for expressing themselves at a rock concert, and should instead focus energy on improving its dire human rights record,” Whitson added.

Reykjavik Pride
(Photo by siggaf/Instagram)

RELATED: Mashrou’ Leila band misses performance in Jordan after being banned for gay singer

Homosexuality is not prohibited by law in the country, however, the conservative society thinks of it as a taboo.

The authorities are trying to convict the group under charges of “immorality” and “debauchery”, which is usually how they convict sex workers.

The band was playing at the Cairo city festival and had obtained all of the required permits to do so.

Related: Where is it illegal to be gay? A look at all the countries where homosexuality is against the law

They have been banned from performing in the country ever again.

Reza Ragab, the deputy head of the official musicians union, said that they were disappointed it took place “on Egyptian soil”.

“We are against gay art,” Ragab said. “It is depraved art.”

The band has said that it was an “honour to play to such a wonderful crowd.”

Police often carry out large raids to arrest people accused of homosexuality.

Related: The first Egyptian lesbian to come out publicly has faced a flood of death threats – but has no regrets

In 2001, the country cause controversy as 52 men were arrested on a floating boat nightclub on the Nile.

A trial was then launched, drawing global attention.

Half of the men were sentenced to prison time, a move widely criticised by human rights groups.

More: Africa, concert, Egypt, Egypt, Gay, gig, Homosexuality, LGBT, mashrou' leila

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