Egyptian men jailed in ‘debauchery’ case

State media says court handed down two-year prison sentences to two allegedly gay men arrested during raid on apartment.

There are no laws in Egypt banning same-sex consensual relationships, but gay weddings are illegal [Youtube]
There are no laws in Egypt banning same-sex consensual relationships, but gay weddings are illegal [Youtube]

An Egyptian court has found two allegedly homosexual men guilty of “committing debauchery” and sentenced them each to two years in jail with labour, the state-run Ahram Online reports quoting a juidical source

The men, who were also fined approximately $30 each, were arrested during a raid on an apartment, the media service reported on Thursday.

According to the report, authorities have said that the two of them were caught “red-handed”.

Citing the court’s verdict, Al Ahram Online said that the men, one of whom is a Moroccan citizen, used Facebook to advertise their apartment as a location for homosexual activity, for exchange of $200 a night.

There are no laws in Egypt that outlaw same-sex consensual homosexual practises, but same-sex marriage is illegal.

Nonetheless, homosexuals have been arrested and punished in the past on morality charges under several laws, including debauchery, immorality or contempt of religion.

Despite several activists defending homosexuality more boldly as a freedom of choice, same-sex relationships remain largely frowned upon among the vast majority of Egypt’s population of about 80 million.

In June 2013, Pew Research Centre issued a report indicating that 95 percent of a surveyed sample in Egypt rejected homosexuality.

Gay couple’s wedding

Eight men stood trial earlier this week over allegations of “inciting debauchery” after appearing in a video purportedly showing a gay couple’s wedding.

The video, which went viral on social media, shows a celebration atop a Nile river boat in which two men, surrounded by cheering friends, exchanged rings and kiss.

The suspects, who were arrested earlier in September for”inciting debauchery”, were subjected to controversial medical examinations to detect homosexuality, and tested negative.

On September 9, New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch condemned the arrest of men involved in this incident, as also the medical examinations.

“These arrests represent another assault on fundamental human rights and reflect the Egyptian government’s growing disdain for the rule of law,” Graeme Reid, HRW’s director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights programme, was quoted in the statement as saying.

Among a series of legal actions taken against alleged gays, four men were sentenced in April to up to eight years in prison after being convicted of committing homosexual acts.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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