CAIRO — The judge in the trial of 26 men arrested in Egypt in a televised raid by police looking for gays at a Cairo public bathhouse says he’ll announce a verdict next week after only three hearings.
The judge said Monday he’ll announce the verdict Jan. 12. Such quick verdicts are common in Egypt’s misdemeanor courts.
The trial has caused an uproar among activists and rights groups. Last month’s raid took an ongoing crackdown on gays in Egypt to a new level, with pictures of half-naked men escorted by police airing on a TV program.
Defense lawyers say the investigation was flawed and based only on one police officer’s testimony.
The December 7 raid was part of an ongoing crackdown on gays in Egypt, described by activists as the worst in more than a decade.
One lawyer representing 14 of the men, Islam Khalifa, told the court Sunday that the defendants suffered “psychological duress” from the publicized arrests, which defamed and endangered both them and their families in conservative Egypt. He said having the television crew there violated the men’s right to privacy and Egypt’s constitution.
Of the 26 men, 21 have undergone medical examinations to see if they had had anal sex. Three of men had trauma that required further examination, defense lawyer Tarek al-Awadi said.
Same-sex relations are not explicitly prohibited in Egyptian law.
The men face charges including debauchery and performing indecent public acts. Such vague terms can apply to prostitution or even public display of affection.