CAIRO — Six alleged gay men were sentenced in an Egyptian court on Thursday to two years in jail with labor for “committing debauchery,” a charge often leveled at gays for engaging in homosexual activity.
Ahram Online reports that the court said the men, including a Moroccan national, were promoting an apartment on Facebook as a location for men to have sex with each other, charging $200 a night.
Consensual homosexual conduct is not illegal in Egypt, but gays are routinely arrested and punished on morality charges under several laws, including debauchery, immorality or contempt of religion.
According to Human Rights First, Egyptian police have arrested more than than 80 people for the “crime” of being gay or transgender since October 2013.
Among them are eight men who are due in court in Cairo on Saturday for appearing in a video that shows two men exchanging rings that made headlines throughout the Arabic press as a “gay wedding.”
Article continues belowAFP reported that the eight men were subjected to anal exams in an effort by authorities to determine if they are gay. The men reportedly all tested “negative” for homosexuality, but will stand trial for inciting debauchery and offending public morality.
Human rights activists speculate that Egyptian officials are monitoring social media sites looking for suspected gays, prompting Grindr to warn users in the Middle East that police in the region may be posing as gay on as a means to entrap and arrest them.