Egyptian Court Sentences 4 Gay Men to Prison for ’Debauchery’

by Bobby McGuire

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday April 7, 2014

Life in post-Arab Spring Egypt continues to get worse for gay people.

Pink News reports that a law banning "debauchery" was used Monday in Egypt to sentence four gay men to prison for throwing "deviant parties" and wearing women's clothing.

Four men were tried in an Egyptian court and three were given eight year prison sentences.

The "habitual practice of debauchery" is a term the Egyptian legal system uses to denote consensual homosexual acts. According to Yahoo News, AFP reports that it is not uncommon in Egypt for those accused of being homosexual to undergo forced medical tests to determine if they are "habitual" gays, a practice human rights groups have decried as abusive.

Egypt has a history of using the debauchery law to imprison gay men. CBS News reports that in 2008, five gay men were arrested and charged with debauchery in what many human rights organizations described as a crackdown on people with the AIDS virus. Four of those men tested HIV-positive after all were forced to undergo blood tests in custody.

In 2012, Pink News reported that seven men were arrested in a police raid in Cairo were for practicing debauchery.

In 2013, The Advocate reported 14 men were arrested in a raid on a Cairo gym and sauna for "practicing homosexuality."

While homosexuality is not directly referred to clear detail in Egypt's legal code, an array of laws covering prostitution, obscenity, and debauchery are used to arrest and persecute gay people in this increasingly conservative country. Pink News reports that activists and LGBT citizens also fear that the government, lead by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, may soon change the lack of anti-gay laws and crack down on LGBT Egyptians.