Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Egypt carries out anal examinations in crackdown on LGBT

Egypt carries out anal examinations on people suspected of being gay to determine whether they have had anal sex. Some 33 people have been arrested since an LGBT indie group performed, in a crackdown on the homosexual community in the conservative Muslim country

Egyptian authorities have carried out anal examinations on people suspected of being gay in order to determine whether they have had anal sex.

Police arrested 22 people in the past three days as part of a crackdown on gays after a rainbow flag was raised at an indie concert, say human rights activists.

While at least 33 people have been arrested since September 23, a day after a group of activists were seen raising the pro-LGBT flag.

In a statement, Amnesty said at least five of those arrested were subjected to anal examinations to determine whether they were engaged in same-sex sexual relations - a practice it said amounted to torture and was scientifically unsound.
'The authorities must urgently halt this ruthless crackdown and release all those arrested immediately and unconditionally,' said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's North Africa campaigns director. 

Local media launched a highly critical campaign against those who raised the rainbow flag at a Mashrou' Leila concert, a popular Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay.
Two men were arrested in relation to the flag incident but one has been released. The remaining arrests were unrelated to the flag incident but have all been over the perceived sexual orientation of them.

At least ten men were arrested between September 28 and 30 and six others earlier that week, judicial sources said. 

All 16 went on trial on Sunday charged with 'promoting sexual deviancy' and 'debauchery', euphemisms for homosexuality. A verdict is due on October 29.
One man has been sentenced to six years in jail over similar charges.
Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. 
Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy. 

In 2001, 52 men were arrested when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat.
An exasperated host on one television channel urged Reza Ragab, the deputy head of the official musicians union, to explain how such a thing could have happened 'on Egyptian soil.'
'We are against gay art,' Ragab said in a phone interview on AlAssema TV. 'It is depraved art.'
Mashrou' Leila is considered a controversial act in Arabic music as the band's songs cover some topics seen as taboo in the Muslim world, such as homosexuality, and their satirical lyrics on politics, religion and sex are often laced with swearwords.
Singer Hamed Sinno, 29, is openly gay and an advocate for LGBT-rights, in particular in the Middle East.

Mashrou' Leila has played in Egypt before, although they have twice been banned from performing in Jordan over allegations its musicians violate the kingdom's traditions and commit blasphemy. 

It is one of the Arab world's few rock acts to gain significant resonance in the West, playing its Arabic-language fusion to a growing number of fans in Europe and the United States.
The band on its Facebook page called the Cairo show, held in a mall in an upscale suburb, one of the best they had ever played, and that it had been an 'honor to play to such a wonderful crowd.'  

Homosexuality is highly taboo in Egypt among both majority Muslims and the Christian minority, but it is not explicitly prohibited by law. 
In practice however, the state regularly seeks to prosecute individuals under alternative charges including 'immorality' and 'debauchery,' which are normally reserved for prostitution. 

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