Egypt has arrested at least 22 people over the past three days as part of a crackdown on the LGBT community, Amnesty International said on Monday. In all, at least 32 men and one woman have been detained, and anal examinations have been carried out on five of those arrested, according to the BBC.
The crackdown against the community began on September 23. This was a day after a group of people was seen raising a rainbow flag at a pop concert in Cairo, in a rare public show of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Egypt, Reuters reported. The incident took place at a Mashrou’ Leila concert, a popular Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay.
While homosexuality is not explicitly criminalised under Egyptian law, local media criticised the flag-raising. It also prompted the public prosecutor to order an investigation.
At least 10 men were arrested between September 28 and September 30 and six earlier that week, the Amnesty report said. All 16 went on trial on Sunday and were charged with “promoting sexual deviancy” and “debauchery”. A verdict is due on October 29.
Last week, a 19-year-old man, who was arrested a day after the concert, was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of “debauchery”, Amnesty said.
On Monday, Mashrou’ Leila released a statement condemning the arrest campaign. “It is sickening to think that all this hysteria has been generated over a couple of kids raising a piece of cloth that stands for love,” the band said.