News / Middle East

Egypt Jails 4 Men for Committing Homosexual Acts

(File Photo) Egyptian security flank 52 suspected homosexual men accused of sexual immorality as they arrive at a Cairo court November 14, 2001.
(File Photo) Egyptian security flank 52 suspected homosexual men accused of sexual immorality as they arrive at a Cairo court November 14, 2001.
Edward Yeranian
An Egyptian court sentenced four men to prison for committing homosexual acts. The Egyptian press reports the men were accused of holding "deviant" sex parties and dressing as women.  

The ruling handed down by the Egyptian court received little media attention in a country where homosexuality is a serious taboo.

Three of the men were given eight years in prison, while a fourth received a three-year sentence, according to Egypt's Ahram Online. The names of the men were not published, ostensibly to avoid embarrassing their families.

Human rights groups, both in and outside of Egypt, condemned the verdict. Homosexuality is treated as a crime in more than 30 countries on the African continent.

A well-know Egyptian sociologist, who asked that his name not be used, tells VOA that “homosexuality is not frequently prosecuted in Egypt” and the police are “usually busy with more serious issues.”  “But,” he said, “when a case is brought to their attention, they are often forced to take it to court.”

He says homosexuality has been talked about in Egyptian cinema, including in the well-known film The Yacoubian Building, but that there is still an enormous stigma attached to being gay.

"[Being gay] is even worse than being atheist," he said. "I mean, we have atheists who come out, but you cannot find homosexuals who come out and say 'Hey, I am homosexual,' and that shows you the degree of difference in dealing with this issue.”

Hazem Abou Ismail is a prominent Islamist who was excluded from the presidential election race in 2012 after being dogged by rumors that he is gay. Abou Ismail denied it but such allegations can ruin the careers of politicians and prominent actors, alike.

“There is a great deal of hypocrisy in Egyptian society about homosexuality and it is often difficult to even speak about it without arousing indignation,” said a professor of politics at Cairo university, who also asked that her name not be used.

The court rulings against the four men are subject to appeal and could eventually be reduced or thrown out by another court. The ruling in a 2001 court case against 52 men charged with “debauchery” was thrown out on appeal, although the men were eventually retried and re-sentenced.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
April 08, 2014 1:03 PM
why The Egyptian Gov. prosecute Saudi tourist whom are practicing homosexual openly. there many imam are openly gay in Egypt but nobody tough them

In Response

by: Abel Ogah from: Nigeria
April 09, 2014 3:19 AM
It has to start from someone. I urge Egyptian govt. to step up the pressure and rid the Country of Misfits.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid