LGBT People are Egypt’s Scapegoats

On March 3, 2016 Human Rights First reported: Egypt does not explicitly criminalize same-sex activity, but that hasn’t stopped the country’s morality police from arresting, nor the Egyptian courts from convicting, men they believe to be homosexual on homophobic charges.

A new victim of this war on Egypt’s LGBT community, a doctor from Cairo, will spend the next year of his life in prison after being convicted of “inciting debauchery.” It is the most common charge the police and prosecution use against LGBT Egyptians.

A special section of Egyptian law enforcement monitors so-called “moral crimes” in the country. Typically targeting homosexual men and transgender people, this police unit increasingly monitors social media platforms to secure arrests. The doctor, whose name remains confidential, allegedly used the mobile messaging application WhatsApp to “practice immorality” and “debauchery.” Law enforcement have used Facebook, Twitter, and Grindr to target and entrap gay men, effectively taking away the ability of LGBT Egyptians to acknowledge their sexual orientation and gender identity in both the real and virtual world.

Such cases have been on the rise since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Morsi, who was a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, represented a traditional adherence to political Islam. So when Egypt’s military staged a coup, new leadership needed to signal that conservative Muslim values would be respected in the new regime. The result? Immorality arrests became more frequent and more public.

Read more at LGBT People are Egypt’s Scapegoats | Human Rights First.

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