26 arrested on “charges” of homosexuality in a Cairo Hammam

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image: Journalist and TV presenter Mona Iraqi in the raid, credit “El Mestakhabi” Facebook page.

By: Hussein Abdel Fattah

Media reports said Monday that Egyptian police cracked down on a local central Cairo Spa, also known as Arabic Hammam, and arrested 26 including its owner.

The reports said that arrests were made under charges of “homosexuality” and “perversion”.

A satellite TV talk show announced it has recorded from inside the Hammam, where men came in for massage sessions turned to group sex for 100 Egyptian pounds, around 11 GBP.

The talk show posted photos of nearly naked men being flocked and pushed by plain clothed police officers.

Some of the arrested had their faces shown in the pictures.

The program presenter Mona Iraqi’s Facebook page said it will air the video of the raid this week.

Peter Tatchell, founder of LBT and human rights advocate Peter Tatchell foundation, said the arrests “are an example of Egyptian government persistent abuse of LBT and human rights”.

He called on western governments to react.“The west should not remain silent, they must convey to the Egyptian regime that it is jeopardizing aid and trade agreements”, he said.

Egypt receives 1.3 billion dollars in aid annually by the United States, mostly in military and security support.

Thatchell also called on the west to shift the aid from the Egyptian regime to other human right NGOs.

Egyptian law does not punish for homosexuality, but homosexuals have been continuously persecuted under charges such as “prostitution”، “perversion” and “debauchery”.

52 gay men were arrested in the biggest single crackdown in Egypt in May 2011, sparking international outrage.

21 of those arrested got three years in jail while others were acquitted after two years of trial.

Egypt is the biggest Muslim country in the Middle East with a fairly conservative society.

Peter Tatchell pointed that under the current president, ex-general Abdel Fattah el Sisi the wave of oppression did not stop.

This year, although an Islamist government was sacked by the military in 2013, several gay men where arrested in different incidents.

Tatchell also said that the real pressure on the Egyptian government to stop human rights abuse should come from the U.N, the Arab league and the African Union.

The west has been often criticised by government and the activists alike for “interfering in internal matters”.

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