-Caveat Lector-

Jailed homosexuals have little sympathy in Egypt

Amil Khan Middle East Times staff


Walid (not his real name) has been in jail since May 11, when police
raided a nightclub at which he had been partying the night away. After
being hauled into waiting trucks, Walid and 53 other young Egyptian men
were taken into custody, where they have languished ever since.

Friends who have visited him say that although he looks well, he no longer
smiles. This is not surprising since Walid has very little to smile about.

The police raid was an operation against "those taking part in immoral
acts," which means homosexuality. The nightclub, which takes up a floor of
a boat on the Nile, was well known as a gay hangout and it seems that the
police decided to send a signal that this kind of behavior was not going
to be tolerated in Egypt.

Walid has been caught up in this 'unofficial-official message', and the
authorities' action has left him and his family with a very public
problem. He had not told his parents and relatives that he was gay, so the
news that he was in prison for "immoral behavior" came as a shock.

It doesn't stop there, however. After the newspapers printed the photos
and names of those in custody alongside stories of frantic homosexual
orgies and gay weddings, Walid's family, like the families of all the
other men, were doomed to face massive embarrassment and humiliation.

On June 8, Amnesty International, the London-based human rights' group,
expressed its concern that the men "are detained purely on the grounds of
their alleged sexual orientation." It went on to add that if this was the
sole basis of their detention "Amnesty International would consider them
prisoners of conscience and call for their immediate and unconditional

However, this statement is about the only real support the men in prison
have. Local human rights groups are reluctant to get involved. Skirting
the issue, Secretary General of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Hafez Abu Seada told the Middle East Times, "This case is not the issue.
The government arrests all sorts of people including regular criminals and
Islamists and they end up in prison for years without charge or
investigation." He went on to add, "Everyone arrested has a right to a
defense and to be treated well and not tortured."

The semi-banned Muslim Brotherhood, whose supporters are regularly
imprisoned by the police, is usually quick to accuse the government of
arresting people on trumped-up charges and abusing their rights, but in
this case the group's deputy supreme guide, Mamoun Al Hodeiby, found
himself on the same side as the authorities. He told the Middle East
Times, "Homosexuality is a great crime in Islam. If people are caught
doing something like this then it is up to the government to deal with

Following the arrest of the men, sensational stories were provided to the
press that were later contradicted by eyewitnesses. According to the local
press, those arrested had been caught taking part in homosexual group sex
while their faces were painted, and there was also a gay wedding taking
place at the same time. However, foreigners who were also present but
allowed to leave by police, said that the place was a plain nightclub that
happened to have a reputation for attracting a lot of gay men.

However, homosexuality is frowned upon in Egyptian society and the reports
of "orgies" made many Egyptians following the case less likely to show
concern for the treatment or rights of those arrested.

A 29-year-old accountant from Nasr City said, "they must know that they
are not welcome in our society." She added that she supports the arrests
and believes that the foreigners should have also been arrested and that
"the arrests would send a clear sign to gays in Egypt and abroad that we
do not like this kind of behavior here."

The local media went on to use Amnesty's position on the issue as a reason
to attack the organization. "They force deviancy on Egyptians in the guise
of human rights," complained a headline in the weekly Rose Al Youssef
magazine. The article called the report "a joke" and went on to explain
how the issue highlighted the differences between the Egyptian and "their"
points of view.

"It [the report] shows the yawning gap in their understanding of our
values," the magazine said. It went on to ask, "Why do they want to impose
what they believe on us?" It then added, "They see homosexuality as a
personal freedom whereas we see it as against our values and an abuse of
our principles."

The article also went on to call into question Amnesty's judgment, "How
can anyone believe them after this report?" one of the sub-headings asked.
"From now on, we have to subject everything published by these kinds of
organizations to the closest scrutiny."

Amnesty and other international human rights organizations are vocal in
their condemnation of Egypt's treatment of civil society groups,
prisoners, militants and activists.

When asked if he thought the media might be trying to discredit
international human rights groups so that when they next make a stand on
an issue such as election violence or prisoners rights their words will
carry less weight amongst Egyptians, Abu Seada said he thought that this
could be the case.

<A HREF="http://www.ctrl.org/";>www.ctrl.org</A>
CTRL is a discussion & informational exchange list. Proselytizing propagandic
screeds are unwelcomed. Substance—not soap-boxing—please!  These are
sordid matters and 'conspiracy theory'—with its many half-truths, mis-
directions and outright frauds—is used politically by different groups with
major and minor effects spread throughout the spectrum of time and thought.
That being said, CTRLgives no endorsement to the validity of posts, and
always suggests to readers; be wary of what you read. CTRL gives no
credence to Holocaust denial and nazi's need not apply.

Let us please be civil and as always, Caveat Lector.
Archives Available at:
 <A HREF="http://peach.ease.lsoft.com/archives/ctrl.html";>Archives of

 <A HREF="http:[EMAIL PROTECTED]/";>ctrl</A>
To subscribe to Conspiracy Theory Research List[CTRL] send email:

To UNsubscribe to Conspiracy Theory Research List[CTRL] send email:


Reply via email to