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Egyptian Actress Mona Hala Passionately Argues for LGBT Equality in TV Interview: WATCH

Hala

In an interview with Egypt's ONTV station back in April that began surfacing online this past week, Egyptian actress and comedian Mona Hala's can be seen giving a passionate defense of the Egypt's increasingly embattled LGBT community.

Said Hala:

"(Homosexuality) has existed since ancient times. Many people throughout history have been like that, so who are we to judge them? Alexander the Great, who built Alexandria was (homosexual). Is that a reason to destroy Alexandria or to change its name?

Hala also spoke out against last month's news that Egypt's Administrative Court had set a precedent allowing the government to forcibly deport people suspected of being LGBT:

I'm against it. Let's say that someone has (homosexual relations) in his country and he wants to come to Egypt to see the antiquities and so on. What right do you have to prevent him from doing so? I don't get it.

Watch more of Hala's interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Egyptian Actress Mona Hala Passionately Argues for LGBT Equality in TV Interview: WATCH" »


Egyptian Court Sets Precedent Allowing For Deportation Of Gays

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A judgement issued from Egypt’s Administrative Court has set a precedent allowing the Interior Ministry to forcibly deport people suspected of being LGBT. The decision was handed down in response to a case involving a Libyan student who was denied entrance back into Egypt after leaving the country during a semester abroad. The unnamed student attempted to re-matriculate at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport back and 2008, but was turned away because he was gay.

In the seven years since then the student repeatedly tried to appeal the ruling arguing that being barred from the country would interrupt his studies and block him from being able to graduate. Ultimately thee Administrative Court ruled that the Interior Ministry was well within its rights to block people suspected of being queer from attempting to enter the country as a matter of social decorum and public interests.

Whether the student was actually charged with any specific crimes is unknown at this time, but his treatment falls in line with the recent spate of media, and police crackdowns on gay men living in Egypt.


Egyptian Police Force Continues Crackdown On LGBT Population With Seven New Arrests - VIDEO

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Seven people accused of organizing a “network for practicing debauchery” were arrested late last week as a part of a coordinated effort by the Egyptian police authorities to crack down on LGBT activity in Cairo, the nation’s capitol.

Speaking to popular Egyptian tabloid Al-Youm el-Saba head of Cairo’s Morality Police Major General Magdy Moussa said that the people taken into custody were thought to have been meeting other men in a private gathering to have sex. Using false profiles on gay dating websites, Moussa explained, Cairo police targeted these people and gleaned information that led them to a nightclub where they promptly made their arrests.

In many ways these arrests echo the Egyptian police’s recent televised harassment of gay men caught patronizing a bathhouse located in Cairo. Though the 26 men who were arrested after the bathhouse raid have since been acquitted, their detainment and that of these seven men reflect a broader atmosphere of persecution that is plaguing queer Egyptians.

Though social networks like Grindr have urged caution amongst their users, police forces in countries like Egypt with active campaigns against LGBT people are becoming increasingly savvy and using those same platforms to ensnare gays looking to meet inconspicuously.

More distressing, as J. Lester Feder points out for BuzzFeed, is the seeming coordination between the Egyptian police and the local media. By leaking hyperbolic accounts of the circumstances leading up to arrests, the police feed into the country’s already hostile climate in regards to queer people. Interestingly enough, however, there are those within the country that are interpreting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s crackdown on gays as a gross overextension of power.

“Some of us hoped the acquittal of victims in Mona Iraqi’s bathhouse raid would resonate longer than a few days or weeks; maybe prosecutors and police, humiliated by the implosion of a showpiece case, would back off from their pursuit of illusory ‘perversion,’” wrote Scott Long, director of the Human Rights Watch’s LGBT division. “But that would be unlike this government. General Sisi, dizzy with his own powers, takes each failure as an opportunity to fail better.”

Watch Al-Youm el-Saba’s coverage of the arrests AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Egyptian Police Force Continues Crackdown On LGBT Population With Seven New Arrests - VIDEO" »


Egyptian Reporter Mona Iraqi And Her Channel Owner To Face Criminal Charges Over Gay Bathhouse Raid

Mona Iraqi

Mona Iraqi, the Egyptian "reporter" whose sting on an Egyptian bathhouse late last year resulted in 26 arrests on charges of debauchery, all of which were dismissed, will be facing charges of defamation alongside channel owner Tarek Nour. Additional charges include libel and publishing false news.

EgyptThe case is being brought by Tarek Al-Awadi, who served as the lawyer for the defendants in the bathhouse case. Al-Awadi is bringing this case to court because Iraqi and channel Al-Qahera Wal-Nas, which hosts her show, refused to apologize or admit to any wrongdoing. Said Al-Awadi to Daily News Egypt:

In case that private satellite station Al-Qahera Wal-Nas (Cairo and the People) will not publish an official statement apologising for the actions of its employees, we will continue to escalate. The channel should take serious legal procedure against Iraqi, her team, and the programme director.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled for April 5th.


Egyptian Gay Bathhouse Raid Victim Attempts Suicide Via Immolation

Egypt

The self-righteous actions of conservative moral crusaders never fail to leave a swath of destruction in their wake. Last December we told you about the raid on an Egyptian bathhouse, lead by conservative moral crusader and all around awful human being Mona Iraqi. Despite the raid probably being illegal, despite the allegations that vice squad leader of the raid Lt. Col. Ahmed Hashad fabricated his testimony, despite the fact that all of the men arrested were acquitted, the social fallout has prompted one of the victims to attempt suicide via self-immolation.

The victim had an interview with the newspaper El-Watan:

I work in a restaurant in the Shobra district. I’m harassed constantly in my workplace by the words of the people and the looks in their eyes.

He also told them that his family locked down on his movements, tried to keep him at home, and one of his brothers insisted on following him everywhere he goes.

About ten days ago, Iraqi returned to television, doubling down on her hate, accusing her detractors of being foreign agents and insisting her raid was about sex trafficking and preventing the spread of AIDS. Hashad, whose lies helped acquit the accused, appeared on the show with her and also doubled down, saying that he had engaged in an extended surveillance of the bathhouse. Two days after the broadcast, the victim attempted suicide.

Paper Bird points out that self-immolations carry particular significance in Egypt as the Arab Spring revolution was instigated by Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi setting fire to himself to protest the governmental bureaucracies that destroyed his livelihood. 


Egyptian Appeals Court Dismisses Case Against Men in Gay Bathhouse Raid

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Buzzfeed reports an Egyptian appeals court has dismissed the case against the 26 Egyptian men, charged with debauchery in December's bathhouse raid. Though a lower court has already acquitted the men, this decision marks the final legal decision on the case.

According to Mohamed Abo Zakry, a lawyer with the Egyptian Center for Civil Reform who represented seven of the now-acquitted men, this verdict means the men have been found "totally innocent and the case is totally closed."

As mentioned in previous posts, the men intend to take legal action against TV reporter Mona Iraqi, who has been accused of filming the bathhouse interior illegally. Speaking to Buzzfeed, Zakry says the acquitted men "would immediately begin prepare to file suit against Iraqi and her television station."

They will also file a claim with the office that investigates police misconduct, alleging that the officer who lead the raid (Lt. Col. Ahmed Hashad) fabricated testimony.

Despite this positive development for gay rights in Egypt, there remains concern that the government is engendering anti-gay bias in the media.


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