A crackdown on gay people in Egypt intensified in recent days as security forces raided cafes in downtown Cairo and courts delivered harsh prison sentences, further driving the nation’s LGBT community underground.
More than 60 people have been arrested, human rights activists said, since a concert last month by a rock group where some members of the audience waved a rainbow flag — photos of which went viral on social media and caused public outrage.
Security forces have also detained people at their homes in the middle of the night, and have used apps and online chat rooms to entrap those believed to be gay. Some cafes frequented by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have been shut down.
Some of those arrested have endured beatings and other abuse in their prison cells, while others have been subjected to forced anal examinations, human rights activists said.
“The targeting of the community was never on this scale before,” said Doaa Mostafa, a human rights lawyer who is representing a man and woman arrested in the latest crackdown.
The sweeps have unfolded as international human rights activists have denounced the Egyptian government and urged an end to the arrests. On Friday, the United Nations human rights office described the anti-gay raids in Egypt and similar assaults in Azerbaijan and Indonesia as unjust and violations of international law.
As of Tuesday, at least 20 people in Egypt had received prison sentences ranging from six months to six years, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said, including four people who were sentenced Saturday to three years each.
The crackdown is the latest sign of the repression of political and social freedoms under the government of President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. Read more via Washington Post