The AFP, quoted by Le Monde, reports that “yesterday, a court in Cairo, Egypt, sentenced 14 allegedly homosexual men to three years’ imprisonment.” Homosexuality is not criminalized as such in Egypt, so the men were prosecuted for incitement to debauchery.
“The court has authorized their release against the payment of a bond of 5,000 Egyptian pounds (about 230 euros) pending the trial on appeal,” said defense lawyer, Ishaq Wadie. Three other men could not be tried because of procedural problems. Their trial has been postponed.
The Egyptian authorities launched a crackdown on gay men following a concert of the Lebanese group Mashrou ‘Leila — whose singer, Hamed Sinno — is openly gay. Since then, dozens of people have been arrested.
Several parliamentarians then filed a proposed law to criminalize homosexuality. Men and women who have sex with a person of the same sex are liable to one to three years in prison, five years if it’s a repeat offense.
Alerted on this situation by various human rights organizations the French president Emmanuel Macron refused to condemn it in front of the Egyptian president during the visit of the latter in France a few weeks ago.
Asked in a joint press conference with the Egyptian President, Emmanuel Macron replied: “In the same way that I accept no other leader gives me lessons on how to govern my country, I do not give to others.” He has just conceded that he has said to his counterpart that “the fight against terrorism is stronger when we defend human rights and individual freedoms,” but claims to understand the “context” in which the country is located.
Emmanuel Macron did not hesitate to publicly address the repression targeting gays in Chechnya at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the Egyptian president was in France to negotiate arms deals with France. It was therefore deemed important not to offend him.
Featured image via Hassan Ammar/Associated Press