Egypt: Cairo 52 - Police Arrests Lose All Credibility As Trial Closes

Final Sentences, Not Subject to Appeal, Set for November 14

For Immediate Release: October 16, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO - As the defense rested its case in the trial of the 52 men detained in Egypt because of their alleged homosexuality at an October 10 hearing, mounting evidence presented by defense attorneys places in serious question the credibility and motivation of the police. A November 14 hearing has been set to deliver final sentences.

Additional allegations of procedural irregularities in the Cairo 52 trial emerged at the October 10 hearing. Testimonies presented suggest that the accusations were fabricated, the arrests conducted at random, with no prior investigation and falsified evidence. Arrests for unrelated minor violations seem to have been added to the "homosexual" case merely to inflate the numbers. (See examples at http://www.iglhrc.org/world/africa/Egypt2001Oct_Arrests.html).

One of the defense lawyers compared the Cairo 52 arrests back in May with a similar raid the previous year, when approximately 150 people were arrested in May 2000 by the same police officers. The similarities between the two cases, added to fact that police get their personnel review in June, suggest a pattern of police misconduct which seriously undermines the prosecution's case.

"We have been following this case since its inception, and we discover more inconsistencies and irregularities every day. The evidence in this case just does not add up," stated Scott Long, IGLHRC's Program Director. "We have less than a month to make our voices heard before sentences are delivered to stop this perversion of justice."

"We continue to get reports of police beatings of the detained men," said Surina Khan, IGLHRC's Executive Director. "We will document and bring to the public's attention any new instances of abuse and harassment as we keep working for the release of the men already in detention."

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