for 54 Egyptian Gay Males
Compiled by GayToday
Cairo, Egypt--Amnesty International has announced that it is gravely concerned about the ongoing detention of scores of men in Egypt in connection with their sexual orientations.
On June 6th & 7th, 54 men were brought before the public prosecution in Cairo facing accusations of immoral behavior and contempt of religion. The men remain in detention since their arrest during the early hours of May 11th. The following day, they were brought before the public prosecutor where they were issued a detention order and transferred to Tora Prison where they continue to be held.
Amnesty International says it believes that the majority, if not all, of these men have been detained solely because of their alleged sexual orientations, If people are detained solely on account of their sexual orientations, Amnesty International consider them prisoners of conscience and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.
The results of forensic medical examinations of all the detainees were presented.
According to Amnesty International information, these examinations were primarily conducted in order to establish whether the men had practiced anal sex.
Media coverage of this incident by Egyptian newspapers has centered on the alleged sexual orientations of the men, portraying them in a negative light. In many instances detailed information pertaining to these men has been published in the Egyptian press, including the names of those arrested. In some cases their places of work have been noted and in one case even the street address a detainee’s family.
The vilification and persecution of persons for their sexuality violate the most fundamental principles of international human rights law, says Amnesty International.
The right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual orientation, is recognized in regional and international treaties, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state party.
Contempt of religion is prohibited under Article 98 (f) of the Egyptian Penal Code and stipulates prison sentences of between six months and five years. Amnesty International has repeatedly criticized the use of this vaguely worded article which has been used as the legal pretext for the imprisonment of prisoners of conscience.
Earlier this year writer Salah al-Din Muhsin was sentenced to three years imprisonment under Article 98 (f) for "offending religion" in his publications.
Charged with violating the same article, Manal Wahid Mana, the alleged leader of a religious group, and three of her followers were sentenced last September to prison terms of between three and five years. Amnesty International considers these men and women to be prisoners of conscience.