Two people acquitted of ‘debauchery’ in Egypt despite LGBT crackdown
Two people have been acquitted of ‘debauchery’ charges in Egypt despite an ongoing anti-LGBT crackdown.
The Dokki Misdemeanour Court on Saturday acquitted the men of the charges.
Local media reported that they had been arrested by the “vice police”.
They had allegedly contacted other men on social apps.
The sentences were given out at the Dokki Misdemeanor Court on Sunday.
They had both been accused of “participating in homosexual acts”, according to local media reports.
Both men, the accused were sentenced in separate cases.
One had been lured into a meeting by undercover police officers using a gay dating app, and was sentenced to three years in prison with three years probation.
The other man was sentenced to two years in jail with two years probation.
The Dokki court sentenced a student to six years in prison and an EGP 300 fine for “practicing 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 six people had 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.
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.
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.”
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Police often carry out large raids to arrest people accused of homosexuality.
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.