Egyptian authorities targeting LGBTQ+ people with arrest and torture

Human Rights Watch stated "Egyptian authorities seem to be competing for the worst record on rights violations against LGBT people in the region."

An Egyptian policeman with a gun over his shoulder

Caution: Contains disturbing descriptions of torture.

Watchdog group Human Rights Watch have shared their World Report 2020, which details how the Egyptian authorities are targeting LGBT people in a “systematic fashion”, arresting them and torturing them.

The report shared, “Egyptian police and National Security Agency officers arbitrarily arrest LGBT people and detain them in inhuman conditions, systematically subject them to ill-treatment including torture, and often incite fellow inmates to abuse them.

“Security forces routinely pick people off the streets based solely on their gender expression, entrap them through social networking sites and dating applications, and unlawfully search their phones.”

In one instance, authorities used Grindr to entrap a young man. The man described how he was arrested after talking to a man on the dating app, then in the station “they came back with a police report, I was surprised to see the guy I met on Grindr is one of the officers.

“They beat me and cursed me until I signed papers that said I was ‘practicing debauchery’ and publicly announcing it to fulfil my ‘unnatural sexual desires.'”

Human Rights Watch described cases of torture, severe beating and sexual violence, others described being tied up and water hosed. A trans woman detailed how she was sexually assaulted with a “forced anal exam” while another young women described three forced “virginity tests”, which left her bleeding and “unable to walk for weeks”.

The report on the Egyptian authorities details a rise in prosecutions for “LGBT conduct” after an “anti-LGBT+ crackdown that started after a 2017 Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo”. Mashrou’ Leila are a Lebanese indie band with an openly gay front man. 17 men were prosecuted after their concert for waving rainbow flags.

Rasha Younes, an LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, stated, “Egyptian authorities seem to be competing for the worst record on rights violations against LGBT people in the region, while the international silence is appalling.”

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