For Immediate Release: April 13, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO - Today an Egyptian appeals court in Damanhour, the capital of Al-Beheira province, found the "Damanhour Five" not-guilty of all charges. The five men had been convicted March 11 of consensual homosexual conduct, and had been sentenced to three years' imprisonment and three years' probation.
"We are gratified that the Egyptian government is beginning to recognize its human rights obligations," stated Scott Long, Program Director at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). "Unfortunately an unknown number of innocent people remain in prison because of their suspected homosexuality. We must continue the pressure until they are all released."
The Damanhour trials come after a year in which brutal arrests, allegations of torture, and hard labor sentences and sensationalized trials of suspected homosexuals have become a regular occurrence in Egypt.
The Damanhour defendants themselves have not been released yet. The five have been in jail since their arrest on January 15, 2002. They were convicted March 11 of the "habitual practice of debauchery" [al-fujur] under Article 9(c) of Law 10/1961--a provision commonly used in Egypt to penalize consensual homosexual behavior. The same law was used to sentence 23 men to one to five years of hard labor on November 14 of last year, in the notorious Queen Boat case.
All five men had confessed to homosexual acts under what they later claimed was torture, including beatings and electric shocks. The prosecutor alleged that they had been found "used"--passive partners in homosexual sex--by a medical examination.
The mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is to secure the full enjoyment of the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV status. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), IGLHRC effects this mission through advocacy, documentation, coalition building, public education, and technical assistance.
For background information on Damanhour case, see
- IGLHRC Press Release March 11, 2002
New Prison Sentences for Alleged Homosexuals in Egypt:
"Damanhour Five" Convicted Today
- IGLHRC Action Alert March 7, 2002
New Stories Of Torture And Brutality:
"Damanhour Five" Tell of Beatings And Electroshock While Mubarak Visits U.S.
- For detailed information on all known cases of persecution of homosexuals, see
- For additional background information, see
Published on April 13, 2002 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization