A total of 33 people have been arrested in Egypt as part of a massive crackdown on perceived homosexuality following the raising of a gay pride flag at a music concert.
The unfurling of an LGBTQ rainbow flag at the 23 September Cairo gig of Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou Leila was met with fury by local media after it was captured in photos, leading the public prosecutor to announce an investigation into the incident.
Two men were arrested in relation to the public appearance of the flag, one of whom was later released.
According to Amnesty International, the other 31 arrests in Cairo, Giza and Damietta have all been made in the last nine days over “promoting sexual deviancy” and “debauchery”, the charges usually brought against perceived homosexual individuals.
Of those detained, 32 are men. The person believed to have raised the flag in a rare show of gay rights solidarity in the conservative country is a woman – the first to be arrested on such charges in years.
16 men were tried on Sunday and await a verdict on 29 October. One man has already been sentenced to six years in jail on similar charges.
The clampdown is the most severe state attack on LGBTQ rights since 2001, when police arrested 52 men in a raid on a floating disco called the Queen Boat.
THE INDEPENDENT UK