The day after 23 alleged homosexuals were sentenced to hard labour in the Emergency State Security Court in Cairo, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has learned of the arrest of four presumed homosexuals under the same charges. The arrests have been confirmed by the Central Vice Squad in Giza, a suburb of Cairo.
The four men were arrested November 10 and have since been in detention in the Boulak Prison Station in Giza. The detainees are under investigation for "the habitual practice of debauchery" (previously translated in short as "obscene behaviour"), the same charge that resulted in convictions and hard labour sentences yesterday. The current detention order lasts until December 30, 2001. Already allegations of police beatings and ill-treatment are surfacing. The four have not been charged yet, and it is not clear whether, if charged they would appear in front of the Emergency State Security Court or a civil court.
"This new case is eerily similar to the Cairo 52 case," stated Scott Long, IGLHRC's Program Director. "Presumed homosexuals arrested at random under the same law on prostitution, beaten in prison, and vilified by the media, while police fabricate facts that do not add up."
Mr. Long has been following this case, gathering information from one of the defendants and from the two defence lawyers. Mr. Long is in Egypt, where he monitored the November 14 sentencing hearing of the Cairo 52.
"The Cairo 52 is not an isolated case," added Mr. Long. "It is becoming clearer that persecution of homosexuals is a major human rights issue in Egypt. The international community should be clear with Egypt as well in demanding the Egyptian Government to stop these abuses now."
You can read a full background to this and the Cairo 52 case at the IGLHRC website.