Mass arrests and a homophobic media witch-hunt target LGBT Egyptians

Egypt Solidarity

A vicious homophobic campaign is underway in Egypt following the arrest of seven people alleged to have raised the rainbow flag during a concert in Cairo on 22 September. According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) the crackdown has led to over 50 arrests of people across the country based on their sexuality or perceived sexuality. An orchestrated campaign in the media condemning LGBT people as ‘criminals’ and ‘deviants’ has accompanied the security forces’ raids.

In a statement on 4 October, EIPR said that it had documented at least 57 arrests, with most of the detainees facing charges of “habitual debauchery,” or “promoting debauchery,” in accordance with articles 9 and 10 of Egypt’s 1961 anti-prostitution and debauchery law. As is common in Egypt, detainees are reported to have been abused while in custody, denied access to lawyers and refused time to prepare an adequate defence. Some have already…

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