No to shameful journalism and the repression of gay people in Egypt!

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Say no to such vile practices!

On 8 December 2014, the show “The Hidden” ("El Mestakhabi") of the Egyptian journalist, Mona Iraqi, aired a sensationalist story about the arrest of 33 customers and employees at a bathhouse for men.

In the story, hammam customers were taken, naked and curled up, to the police station. No attempt was made to obscure the identities of these individuals with full facial footage being aired throughout the show, and Mona Iraqi publishing pictures of the raid on her Twitter account.

This police raid on the hammam would never have occurred without Mona Iraqi. Indeed, it is this so-called journalist who herself informed the police. Mona Iraqi had already prepared her story a week in advance, but had postponed its release pending the police intervention, according to Courrier International.

This shameful broadcasting, employing the totalitarian method of informers, illustrates the plight of homosexuals and those thought to be homosexual in Egypt – a plight that has become more worrying than ever.

Charges have been pressed against all those arrested. Although homosexuality is not explicitly criminal under Egyptian law, those arrested in cases characterized by its occurrence are always accused of debauchery and sometimes also prostitution. The maximum penalty for debauchery is three years of imprisonment, but other charges that prolong the duration of imprisonment are also sometimes added. The trial of those accused as part of the televised raid began in Cairo on Sunday, 21 December.

According to Dalia Abdel Hameed, a member of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) quoted by Le Point Afrique, “the hunting down homosexuals has relentless since Egypt’s return to military rule. There have been 150 arrests since June 2013. The sentences are up to eight or nine years of imprisonment.”

The outrageous methods used by journalist Mona Iraqi and the hunting down of homosexuals in Egypt are contrary to the rights of individuals to privacy and human dignity.

Say NO to such practices, to denunciations and to the repression of homosexuals in Egypt. Ask the Egyptian government to set the 26 arrested men – who have committed no crime – free, by signing below.

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