HRW condemns Egypt arrests of 'same-sex marriage' men

Ahram Online , Tuesday 9 Sep 2014

HRW called for the immediate release of seven men who were arrested on charges of "debauchery" after appearing in an alleged same-sex marriage video

Human Rights Watch has condemned on Tuesday the detention of seven Egyptian men for "debauchery" after appearing in a perceived same-sex marriage video.

HRW called on Egyptian authorities to "immediately release" the men who were arrested on Saturday.

Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat ordered suspects to be detained pending investigations into them broadcasting footage that "violates public decency."

Egypt's forensics authority announced on Monday that the men were physically examined and found not to have had sexual relations with men before.

HRW said that such examinations "violate international standards against torture.” It added that even though they've been used in courts, experts dismiss them as "medically and scientifically useless" in determining whether consensual anal sex has taken place.

"In the past, those subjected to the examinations in Egypt said they were forced to bend over while a government doctor working for the police massaged their buttocks and examined and sometimes probed their anus," the report said.

Meanwhile, the men denied allegations against them. In a TV interview, one of them said – on condition of anonymity – that they were holding a birthday party for his friend and got him a silver ring as a present because it was something he wanted.

In April, four men were convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for debauchery after holding parties that involved homosexual acts where women's clothing and makeup were found.

In 2011, 23 men were sentenced to prison terms of one to five years for immoral behavior and contempt of religion. They were allegedly taking part in a gay sex party.

“Egyptian authorities should immediately end the practice of arbitrarily arresting and torturing adults who are privately engaged in consensual sexual relations,” said Graeme Reid, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch.

“These latest arrests are an ominous indication that President El-Sisi’s government will show no greater respect for the rights of vulnerable groups than its predecessors,” Reid added. 

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