Vancouver Sun

Gay raid evidence criticized by defence

- SARAH EL DEEB

CAIRO — Defence lawyers for 26 men arrested in a televised raid by police looking for gays at an Egyptian bathhouse criticized the prosecutio­n’s case Sunday, saying it is based on a faulty investigat­ion and only one police officer’s testimony.

The raid was part of an ongoing crackdown on gays in Egypt, described by activists as the worst in more than a decade. While consensual gay and lesbian relationsh­ips are not specifical­ly outlawed in Egypt, there is a societal taboo against same-sex couples.

A private TV station’s crew filmed the men’s arrest, saying it tipped off police to a bathhouse “hosting men sex orgies.” The televised raid outraged activists.

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 anal sex. Three of the men had trauma that required further examinatio­n, defence lawyer Tarek al-Awadi said.

The men face charges including debauchery and performing indecent public acts.

The trial will resume today.

 ?? NARIMAN EL-MOFTY/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Egypt’s gay community is fearful after police arrested dozens of men at a bathhouse in a raid that was televised.
NARIMAN EL-MOFTY/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Egypt’s gay community is fearful after police arrested dozens of men at a bathhouse in a raid that was televised.

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