Leil-Zahra Mortada

making noise, and more noise

Egyptian Regime’s Crackdown on LGBTQ People

An anonymous statement from Egypt on the recent crackdown on LGBTQ individuals in Cairo. The identity of the people behind it is kept confidential for security reasons and for fear over their safety. I personally know a few of them and they have my full trust. I attest that the information mentioned in this statement is correct.  Please share and stay posted on how you could be of help. Also please watch out for Islamophobic, racist, orientalist, colonialist, and Eurocentric approaches to this matter. This has been used and abused big time over the years.

 A new Crackdown in Cairo

“The Journey of 4 LGBT individuals from a new home to prison in a week”
7th of April 2014

Today on Monday the 7th of April 2014 a local Egyptian court has sentenced 3 Homosexuals (Two of them at least are transgender) to prison for three years on on charges of habitual practice of debauchery while their 4th friend who happens to be a gay man has been sentenced for 8 years on several charges such as owning what the court described as a place/ headquarter for prostitution, facilitating homosexual sex work and being part in immoral behaviors. The announcement of the charges has left the families of the 4 young people who ages between (18-31 Years old) in an ultimate shock as they have been unable to believe that their own siblings have been arrested, scandalized in local newspapers and even sentenced to prison in less than a week.

The Story had started on Tuesday the 1st of April when we received a phone call from a community member who reported that 4 of his friends got arrested from their own apartment in the morning of the same day. Two hours after the phone call a lawyer was standing in the middle of the police station asking about the four detainees before a police officer mocks him by saying (Oh, You’re asking about the 4 faggots!).

The 4 young LGBT individuals had moved into this new apartment which is located into a middle class suburb of Cairo only 24 hours before they opened the door to find police officers in their home arresting them and driving them to the police station without even a legal permission from the prosecution office (According to the lawyer’s story).

Till the moment there are many stories about how and why they had been arrested from the first place, the one story that makes sense to some extent is that the neighbors had called to the police to complain of noise coming from the new comers’ flat and then when the police officers arrived and the door was opened, they obviously noticed that two at least out of the 4 people who’re living in the flat have womanly bodily and physical features such as long hair or breasts. The police officers weren’t ready to tolerate what they perceived as (Abnormality, Immorality and bawdiness), and they couldn’t accept what they described in their reports as (Men imitating women) so they decided to arrest them.

According to the Police report, the 4 young people were accused of a list of adjectives and actions that are far from the truth, the Police officer considered (Make up, women wears and underwear pieces) that were found in the apartment as proof of prostitution and debauchery.

On Wednesday the 2nd of April the prosecutor started investigating with the 4 young people in the presence of the lawyer where they denied all the accusations. The prosecutor decided after almost 7 hours of investigations to keep them in prison for four days till a trial is set.

On the same day at night we received a new phone call from the same community member who managed to communicate through another friend with the detainees, the conclusion of the call was that the detainees were complaining of Physical and sexual violence and violations in their detention place, rape attempts and sexual assaults were noted as claims as well. The reason for why we are using the word claim is not because we don’t think that such violations have taken place but because nothing has been confirmed because of the lack of transparency within the Police system especially when it comes to torture and physical abuse.

On Saturday the 5th of April the 1st trial was set and for unclear reason, the trial has been rescheduled to take place today on Monday the 7th of April.

According to the lawyer there’s no legal proof on any of the accusations however the judge’s rule was based in court on that one minute when he asked the 4 young people to take their hats off (They have been wearing them to protect themselves legally from stigma) and he found what he considered as (Men imitating women) and which translated in his mind as (Men doing such behaviors to attract non Egyptian men and offer sex for money), but again this is what’s been said by the lawyer and according to his testimony.

The situation is messy, gloomy and confusing where on one level all these legal procedures have happened in less than a week, on another level the credibility of the procedures is doubted starting from what the lawyer stated as (Breaking into the 4 people’s flat without a legal permission) and till today’s charges which can’t be described by anything less than unjust and unjustified. This is not the 1st crackdown that we witnessed since the beginning of 2014, it may actually be the 2nd or the 3rd, and such a fact raises lots of concerns and fears of the consequences of such a crackdown and such charges especially that there are no guarantees in relation to neither the credibility of the procedures nor the predictable homophobic/ transphobic abuse and violence in the prison.

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