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Egypt: Eight More Males Suspected Gay Arrested

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

At least eight more men have been arrested in Egypt on suspicion of homosexual behavior, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported January 21.

"The arrests, following on last year's trial of 52 men for homosexuality, suggest a steadily growing pattern of persecution," IGLHRC said.

There have been several other anti-gay arrests in recent months as well, some of them related to alleged sexual advertising on the Internet.

"Enough is enough," said IGLHRC's Scott Long. "Too many people are sitting in jail whose only crime is to be suspected of homosexuality. Homosexuality is not perverse, the behavior of the Egyptian government is."

The newest arrests took place in Damanhour, capital of Al-Beheira province. A local newspaper suggested further arrests are possible, given that an address book was confiscated that contained "the names and addresses of a large number of perverts."

Damanhour prosecutor Yaseen Zaghloul reportedly ordered that the men's genitals and anuses be examined to confirm their homosexuality, a practice that was seen in the earlier cases as well.

On November 14, 2001, Cairo's Emergency State Security Court handed down verdicts in the cases of 52 men who had been detained for six months because of alleged homosexual activity. Twenty-three of the men were sentenced to between one and five years hard labor and 29 were acquitted.

The men were charged with obscene behavior and contempt for religion. Police say they were arrested in and around the gay club Queen Boat on May 11.

International human-rights activists maintain that many of the men were nowhere near the club when they were taken into custody on May 11 and following days, and have denounced the prosecutions as a sham.

© 1997-2001 BEI