Police are ensnaring gay men in Egypt through dating apps
Users of the likes of Hornet, Grindr and Growler are being beaten and arrested by police and blackmailed for money, reveals a report by The Verge.
App users are being beaten, anally examined and imprisoned by police who talk to queer men and arrange dates with them on the app.
An Egyptian gay man named Firas ended up fleeing the country after his supposed date went terribly wrong. He was detained by authorities for 11 weeks.
“They caught me and beat me up, insulting me with the worst words possible. They tied my left hand and tried to tie my right,” Firas told The Verge.
“I resisted. At that moment, I saw a person coming from a police microbus with a baton. I was scared to be hit on my face so I gave in.”
“There’s this sense of society wanting to publicise anything that’s private for the LGBTQ community,” a gay Egyptian man named Omar told the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
“It becomes hard to discriminate what’s private and what’s public.”
Since 2014, Grindr has issued out warnings to men using the app in Egypt, and has advised them to keep their profiles as anonymous as possible so that they can avoid being targeted.
Safety tips are also being sent to users, says VICE.
Grindr now offers the option for users to change the icon as it appears on their phone screen for added security.
In some countries, users can install a pin code facility so that even if their phone is unlocked, a stranger would be unable to access their Grindr account.
Since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came into power in 2013, there has been a government crackdown on LGBT+ people.
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During the same month, Egypt also issued a Russia-like gay propaganda ban, which “prohibits the appearance of homosexuals or their slogans in the media.”
“Homosexuality is a sickness and disgrace that would be better hidden from view and not promoted for dissemination until it is treated and its disgrace removed,” read the statement.
“This is to preserve order and public decency and out of respect for the values and correct beliefs of society. Promotion of these slogans is also a corruption of society that should be punished.”