Egypt: The Trap Punishing sexual difference in Egypt

Report from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

In this report, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, documents a four-year period in which Egyptian police have escalated a targeted crackdown on people whose sexualities or sexual practices, actual or perceived, differ from those considered normative in Egyptian society. Especially if they were homosexual or men who practice sex with men, or those suspected as such, or transgender persons. It is the campaign which reached its climax last month, with the arrest of more than 75 people against the backdrop of the ‘waving the rainbow flag’ incident. The flag known as a symbol of diversity and accepting different sexual orientation and gender identities, was waved during a concert in one of the malls in Cairo. The report tries to clarify that the late campaign, which garnered the attention of International Rights NGOs and global media, is nothing but a link in the systematic targeting that this report is trying to document.

The average number of individuals arrested and referred to court per year in cases like these, rose from the last quarter of 2013 onwards, reaching almost five times the average number of arrests in previous years. In the period from October 2013 to March 2017, the total number of people arrested and prosecuted in such cases has reached 232 people — an average of 66 people per year — a figure far exceeding the figure of 189 individuals, with an average of 14 people per year in the 13 years prior to the start of the crackdown (2000-2013).

This report follows the journey of some of those arrested, from entrapment to imprisonment, in order to analyse the patterns of this security campaign against those considered to have non-normative sexualities. The report also analyses the roles of different actors in the criminal justice system, including the police, prosecution and Courts of Appeal, as well as the legal loopholes employed by this campaign and the way in which it violates a number of established legal and constitutional principles.

The report relies mostly on a legal analysis of 25 cases, testimonies from individuals detained in the crackdown and interviews with their family members and lawyers who specialize in such cases. It also examines Egyptian media coverage, not only of the crackdown on LGBTQ individuals, but also of incidents of blackmail, theft and what might be considered hate crimes against gay men and transgender women. The appendices of the report include a number of testimonies from individuals arrested, accused and formerly imprisoned, in cases of “habitual practice of debauchery” . As well as statistics of the legal cases and the media coverage that accompanies it, and examples of the defence memos.

In addition to, the text of law no. 10 for the year 1961, criminalizing prostitution, who’s vague and confused articles are used against individual who profess sexual difference, for the sake of accusing of them with “habitual practice of debauchery” or publishing material that incite it. Read the full report