Egypt defence lawyers challenge arbitrary arrest of gay men by police in hammam case

By Junior Mayema,

Lawyers for Human rights, we need more and more in Africa to challenge those antigay laws that breaches international human rights laws and obligations ,it also breaches  some national laws because of course homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, it is quite common that the police  use other laws that has nothing to do with homosexuality in order to torture, imprison , commit acts of violences and brutalize LGBT people in especially in countries that didn’t inherited colonial era holdovers like my own very the Congo, especially the infringement to the right to privacy is very common and rife in those countries because there is no specific law that criminalize being gay.

There are some lawyers already challenging those arbitrary arrests, detentions, dehumanizing and degrading treatment of LGBT people in Africa but we need more lawyers to remind states and governments officials that they are signatories of treaties, international conventions and have international obligations to abide by the international human rights laws that affirm that LGBT rights are human rights here are some of those hero lawyers  below:


Cameroon lawyer wins award for defending gay rights


Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa


Michel Togué

This is just to count some but we need more and more lawyers for human rights rights to avail themselves across the african continent for human rights for all as it is enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights, here is how   lawyers for human rights are taking actions against arbitrary arrests in Egypt :

Cairo (AFP) – Defence lawyers for 26 Egyptians accused of “debauchery” at a Cairo bathhouse challenged police procedures in the case on Sunday.

The men were arrested on December 7 in a night raid on a hammam in the Azbakeya district of the capital.

Egyptian law does not expressly ban homosexuality, but gay men have previously been arrested and charged with debauchery instead.

Defence lawyer Tareq al-Awdi on Sunday accused the policeman who led the raid of falsifying his report.

“Thirty-three men were arrested and the officer later freed seven of them. That wasn’t in his report, which is illegal,” Awdi said.

Nor did he mention that he had authorised the arrests to be filmed.

Islam Khalifa, defence lawyer for 14 of the defendants, said the officer claimed that all the suspects were homosexuals, but medical reports proved this was not so.

Controversial medical tests — condemned by international human rights groups — have long been used in Egypt to identify suspected homosexuals.

Third defence lawyer Khaled al-Nakkash said his client had been told by police to remove his clothing before being taken out of the bathhouse.

A private television channel subsequently broadcast footage of men in underwear or with towels round their waists after the raid.

An AFP journalist in court said the case was adjourned until Monday after a hearing lasting for two hours.

In the past, homosexuals in Egypt have been jailed on charges ranging from “scorning religion” to “sexual practices contrary to Islam”.

On December 27, an appeals court reduced jail sentences given to eight men over a gay wedding video that went viral on the Internet to one year each, from three years.

They had been convicted in November by a lower court of broadcasting images that “violated public decency”.


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