Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, people are often arrested on charges relating to "immorality" and "debauchery".
At least eleven people have been arrested on charges of “debauchery” or “promoting sexual deviancy” related to raising a rainbow flag at a rock concert in Cairo, Egypt on Sept. 22nd. Public support of homosexuality is very rare in the closed, Muslim community of Egypt.
The concert was Mashrou Leila, an alternative rock band from Beirut, Lebanon. The lead singer, Hamed Sinno, is openly gay, and the band’s lyrics often feature themes about homosexuality, politics and human rights. Sinno is an activist for LGBTQ rights throughout the Middle East. Following an investigation by the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate into the Sept. 22nd event, future Mashrou Leila concerts have been banned in Egypt.
— Mada Masr مدى مصر (@MadaMasr) October 3, 2017
Homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, but discrimination is prevalent and people are often arrested on charges related to debauchery, immorality, blasphemy or deviancy. It’s common for police to trap people by posing on dating apps or websites.
“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 for Human Rights Watch, “The Egyptian government, by rounding people up based on their presumed sexual orientation, is showing flagrant disregard for their rights.”
According to the prosecution, the defendants will be subject to forensic analysis to determine if they have ever engaged in anal sex. This is a common practice in Egypt, as well as other countries including Cameroon, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia. The examinations are painful, degrading and the results are not scientifically sound.
“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,” said Whitson.
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