Three people were sentenced to 12 years in prison while the rest were given between three to nine years. One of the defendants was convicted several years ago in another homosexuality-related case, according to investigators.
In a show of commonality, Solidarity with Egypt LGBTQ, an organization that brings together LGBTI individuals in the North African state has released a statement on the incident.
The statement reveals the dangerous conditions the gender and sexual minorities in Egypt are living under with an unfortunate encounter occurring on almost a fortnightly basis. Dalia Alfarghal the Director of Solidarity with Egypt LGBTQ+, also addressed the vague Combating Debauchery and Prostitution law that does not provide any clear protection for minorities.
He further questioned the system that is meant to protect them how much longer the LGBTI+ topic would remain shrouded in silence. He wondered if an end to that silence would make a significant difference to the cause or at least decrease the violations committed against minorities.
Statement from “Solidarity with Egypt LGBTQ” about the last case
On Sunday, 24th of April, only one day before the 25th of April demonstrations that had been called for in Egypt, the Giza Misdemeanors Court sentenced 11 men to terms of up to 12 years in prison over charges of “inciting debauchery” after they were arrested for allegedly committing homosexual acts.
Three people were sentenced to 12 years in prison while the rest were given between three and nine years. The 11 men had been arrested in September 2014 from the Agouza area in Giza. This isn’t the first case of its kind with such sentences. In May 2014 five transgender persons had been sentenced between 4 to 12 years in prison; another four men were sentenced a month before that, each up to 8 years.
Since the end of 2013, when the crackdown on the LGBTI+ community in Egypt started, we have encountered a case every two weeks –based on information we gathered from newspapers and our networks, as we are sure that there are more cases in courts and arrests that we haven’t heard of.
It is hard to document all cases in every court and every police station. We have published statistics reflecting our records of cases in Egypt in the years 2014 & 2015, in addition to our regular updates about the current situation in Egypt concerning LGBTI+ rights.
By discussing the Combating Debauchery and Prostitution law which is used to criminalize homosexuality with lawyers, they declared that this law is similar to many Egyptian laws which are quite vague and could have so many reinterpretations to be used against whoever. It is a methodology of fabricating, or reframing the law in order to condemn people regardless, which can be used to criminalize the activities according to the whim of the officers and judicial actors. For example, a situation like habitual practicing of debauchery and prostitution for money cannot be substantiated in most of the cases. However, the authorities consider any amount of personal money found on the victim as enough evidence for conviction.
It is a clear conclusion that this crackdown and this amount of cases have nothing to do with law nor justice, it is all political and judicial whims which aim to oppress one’s sexual freedom and deny people autonomy over their own bodies, which has to stay as one of the state’s businesses to be controlled and used for the sake of the power dynamics and state’s interest. This oppression comes as part of a totalitarian system that seeks to control all aspects of individual lives, to fully oppress peoples’ dreams and wills, to oppress women and LGBTI+ and to affirm state monopoly over everyone, and dictate their relationships with their bodies, and the way society should look at them, to guarantee the continuity of patriarchal traditions, and to prevent any kind liberation and secularism. And whoever thinks of rebelling against this oppression of personal freedoms, would most likely be stigmatized, abandoned or marginalized because of their genitals or sexual preferences.
During all this, we’re yet to come across any statement or vocal position against this policy from any political party or movement that believes in, and calls for, liberalism and secularism, while supporting our cause in secret. They claim they can’t support that cause publicly because it might weaken or affect the other ‘more important’ causes they stand for.
Therefore, we are wondering, for how longer will the LGBTI+ topic remain shrouded in silence? And would an end to that silence make any difference to the cause? Would it decrease the violations committed against this group, by society?
LGBTI+ rights are human rights!”
Special thanks to Ibrahim Abdella and Noor Sharaf for the hard work.
Please, don’t hesitate to get back to us for further information about the current situation concerning LGBTQ+ issues in Egypt.
Director of Solidarity with Egypt LGBTQ+