Egypt Arrests Group Of Men For Participation In Same-Sex Wedding

 

 Egypt has reportedly arrested as many as nine men who were identified as participating in a same-sex wedding. A video of the ceremony was uploaded back in April, but after it went viral recently, police identified nine of the 16 participants, though some reports suggest there were only seven arrests.
Though Egyptian law does not explicitly prohibit homosexuality, the men were held in custody under charges of “incitement to debauchery” and “publishing indecent images.” Gay Egyptians have also been previously prosecuted under charges such as “scorning religion” and “sexual practices contrary to Islam.” The prosecution is describing the celebration depicted in the video as “a devilish shameless party.”

Prosecutors also apparently ordered “medical tests,” a practice supposedly able to identify “habitual homosexuals.” In other countries, such tests consist of anal probes. A forensic spokesman said Monday that based on the test results, the men are “not homosexuals.” This, however, does not end their prosecution.

A State Department spokesperson told ThinkProgress that U.S. officials are still seeking more information about the arrests, but that the U.S. remains “firmly committed to supporting the ability of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, to lead productive and dignified lives, free from fear, discrimination and violence.”

“Protecting universal human rights is at the core of U.S. foreign policy,” the spokesperson said, “and we will continue to stress to the Egyptian government the importance of human rights for all, including those of LGBT individuals.”

The State Department is urging the Egyptian government “to ensure that all of those arrested or detained are afforded due process and fair and transparent trials, and that the law is applied equitably and free of political bias,” including “clearly and publically presenting evidence, ensuring that charges are made within a reasonable timeframe, and ensuring defendants have access to legal representation.”