The Alexandria police have arrested nine men for being homosexual, according to the Egypt Independent Newspaper.
The Dekheila Prosecution in Alexandria arrested the men on Monday, 22 January 2018. They were believed to be engaging in “debauchery” and homosexual activity, after the Head of the Alexandria Security Directorate, Mustafa Al-Nimr, deemed their behaviour a threat to public security.
The police received information claiming that “weird” young men had frequently visited an apartment on Gameeya Street, Hanoville, in western Alexandria.
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Subsequent investigations led to allegations that a real estate agent rented the apartment months ago, and used it to host group-sex parties.
According to the Egypt Independent, the investigations suggest that the men – perhaps fearing police repercussions – had imposed a wall of secrecy and did not allow strangers to approach their apartment or see their personalities.
Initial reports claim the appertment had been receiving “customers”, so it’s unclear if the property was being used as a brothel.
This week’s police operation, which was confirmed by the Head of the Alexandria Security Directorate Mustafa Al-Nimr, is the most recent attack on Egypt’s LGBT+ community since the wave of arrests in September 2017.
Homosexuality Equated with Illegal Prostitution
Homosexuals in Egypt are systematically slandered and almost always equated with illegal prostitution and sex trafficking.
Although homosexuality is not “illegal” in Egypt, the police have been employing a 1950 anti-prostitution law and a 1961 law against “debauchery” to arrest and imprison homosexuals since the 1990s under President Hosni Mubarak.
Both laws forbid prostitution and “debauchery,” and carry up to three years in prison. The same laws have been also used to silence and punish media commentators and artists, who might be mildly fair towards LGBT+ individuals.
Harsh Crackdown on LGBT+
In September 2017, a crackdown was imposed against LGBT+ individuals in Egypt, with dozens arrested after a rainbow flag was waved at a Mashrou Leila concert in Cairo. The Lebanese rock-band, whose lead singer is openly-gay, was banned from performing in Egypt by the Music Syndicate.
In December 2017, the education ministry initiated an urgent investigation into textbook cartoons, which “support homosexuality in the educational curricula,” after cartoon illustrations showed two fathers and two mothers performing the role of parenting.
The arrests in September 2017 have marked the largest crackdown since 2001, when a high-profile raid on the Queen Boat – a gay-friendly club on the Nile – saw 52 men arrested.