Egypt: One Conviction Overturned In Cairo

On June 26, 2002, A.M.S., a 19 year-old Egyptian student, saw his conviction for homosexual conduct overturned by a Cairo appeals court. Reportedly, A.M.S.--who had been in detention for over five weeks--fainted, overcome with emotion, when the verdict was announced.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) welcomes the decision, which was handed down by the Qasr-al-Nil Court of Appeals. At the same time--in a separate, longstanding case--50 of the defendants in the 2001 "Cairo 52" case still face a retrial to begin July 2. International pressure on Egypt's government must go on.

A.M.S. was arrested by the Vice Squad on May 19 as he stood on a Cairo street. He had allegedly arranged a face-to-face encounter with a man he had met on the Internet--a man who was either a police officer or an informer.

A.M.S. was charged with homosexual conduct, tortured, and subjected to abusive medical tests. On June 8, he was sentenced to 3 years in prison for the "habitual practice of debauchery" (a term for homosexual conduct in Egyptian law), as well as "enticing passers-by to commit indecency"--both deriving from the "crime" of a cyberspace conversation. (For more information on this case, see IGLHRC's June 18 Alert, "New Conviction in Cairo," at http://www.iglhrc.org/world/africa/Egypt2002Jun_1.html)

Those worldwide who protested this injustice can take heart that their messages were heard. Yet Egypt is pressing forward with retrying the "Cairo 52" defendants--and even those earlier acquitted will face the indignity of a new trial. (For information on the retrial, see IGLHRC's June 23 Alert, "Retrial Announced in Cairo 52 Case," at http://www.iglhrc.org/world/africa/Egypt2002Jun_2.html).

Letters are still needed. Remind Egypt's government that the international community is still watching. Remind Egypt's allies that their support enables broken promises, bodies, and minds.

ACTION

A. CONTACT EGYPTIAN OFFICIALS

Send the sample e-mail found below to the following addresses. (Egyptian government offices frequently change e-mail addresses in response to protests. IGLHRC thanks any activists who can keep us updated with correct ones.)

His Excellency, President Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
E-mail: webmaster@presidency.gov.eg
His Excellency, Counsellor Farouk Seif Al Nasr, Minister of Justice
E-mail: mojeb@idsc2.gov.eg
Mr Ahmed Maher Al-Sayad, Minister of Foreign Affairs
E-mail: ForMin@idsc.gov.eg

And write or call Egypt's Embassies abroad. If your country is not in the list below, go to http://www.mfa.gov.eg/missions_a.asp?id=0505 to find contact information.

AUSTRALIA
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel: (62) 273-4437/8
Fax: (612)62734279
BRAZIL
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel.: (5561) 323 8800
Fax: (5561) 323 1039
E-mail: embegypt@tba.com.br
CANADA
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel: (613) 234-4931 / 35/58
Fax: (613)234-9347
E-mail: egyptemb@sympatico.ca
FRANCE
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel: (33) (1) 47 20 97 70 / 47 20 75 97
Fax: (33) (1) 47230643
TELEX 645297
E-mail: boustane.paris@free.fr
GERMANY
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel.: (4930)4771048 - 4771250
Fax: (4930)4771049
E-mail: Egembassy@hotmail.com
INDIA
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel.: (9111) 6114096- 6114097
Fax: (9111) 6885355
E-mail: egyembindia@vsnl.com
SOUTH AFRICA
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel.: (2712)3431590/3431591
Fax: (2712)3431082
TURKEY
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel.: (90312)4684647/4261026/4266478
Fax: (90312)4270099
E-mail: egankara@yahoo.com
UNITED KINGDOM
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Tel: (44) 020 7499-2401, 020 7499-3304
Fax: (44) 020 7355-3568 / 491-154
E-mail: etembuk@hotmail.com
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: 202 244 4319
E-mail: Egypt-embassy@usa.net

B. CONTACT U.S. OFFICIALS:

Call the President of the United States:

Please CALL the White House switchboard at +1 202-456-1414. Tell President Bush that Hosni Mubarak's show of leniency is over, and the "Cairo 52" defendants face another unfair trial. Ask him to condemn this repressive act, as well as the recent harsh sentence handed down to the 19 year-old A.M.S. Make the points found in the sample letter below.

A call is the most effective way to get your point across to the White House: operators use them to gauge public opinion. However, you can also send a fax (modelled on the sample letter below) to President Bush at +1 202-456-2461; or (least effectively) send an e-mail to president@whitehouse.gov.

Write the Secretary of State:

Please also send an e-mail to Secretary of State Colin Powell at secretary@state.gov. A sample letter (to European/US officials) is below.

C. CONTACT EUROPEAN OFFICIALS:

Write to the following officials of the European Union and its member states. Send the sample e-mail found below.

EUROPEAN UNION:

Mr. Romano Prodi
President of the European Commission
E-mail: romano.prodi@cec.eu.int
Mr. Christopher Patten
Member of the European Commission, External Relations
E-mail: christopher.patten@cec.eu.int
Herr Elmar Brok, Chairman, European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security, and Defense Policy (Germany)
E-mail: ebrok@europarl.eu.int
Mr Geoffrey Van Orden, Vice-Chairman, European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security, and Defense Policy (United Kingdom)
E-mail: gvanorden@europarl.eu.int

FRANCE:

M. Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic
Go to http://www.elysee.fr/ecrire/mail.htm and paste your message into the box
M. Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Prime Minister
Go to http://www.premier-ministre.gouv.fr/PM/MAIL.HTM and paste your message into the box

GERMANY:

Herr Gerhard Schroeder, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
E-mail: posteingang@bundesregierung.de,
gerhard.schroeder@spd.de
Herr Joschka Fischer, Minister of Foreign Affairs
E-mail: poststelle@auswaertiges-amt.de

UNITED KINGDOM:

Rt. Hon. Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
E-mail: strawj@parliament.uk
Or go to http://www.fco.gov.uk/feedback.asp and paste your message into the box

SAMPLE LETTER TO EGYPTIAN OFFICIALS:

Your Excellency:

I am shocked to understand that your Government has decided to retry 50 of the 52 defendants who were arrested on or around the "Queen Boat" discotheque in May, 2001.

Those who were found innocent as well as those found guilty will be subjected to the indignity of a new trial. The upcoming trial, beginning on July 2 at the Qasr-al-Nil Court of Misdemeanors, will only redouble the injustices inflicted on these men. Moreover, it will violate the protections of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights( ICCPR)--which affirms in its Article 14.7 that "No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country." As you know, your government ratified the ICCPR in 1982. Twenty years later, Egypt shames its international reputation by disregarding its solemn promises.

I am further shocked that the convictions of two men in the same case who were found guilty of "contempt of religion" have been allowed to stand. The use of this law in Egypt against people exercising freedoms of assembly and expression, as well as the liberty of conscience and belief, has been condemned by the world community.

I urge you to call a halt these trials, to meet your obligations under the ICCPR and international law. Pardon the 52 defendants. Ensure that all persons now imprisoned or facing trial under Article 9(c) of Law 10/1961 are immediately released, and that this repressive law is repealed. End the persecution of people for the exercise of their freedom of conscience and belief.
Sincerely,


TO U.S. AND EUROPEAN OFFICIALS:

Dear

I write in grave concern that the Egyptian Government has decided to retry 50 of the 52 defendants who were arrested on or around the "Queen Boat" discotheque in May, 2001.

Egypt's decision reveals that President Hosni Mubarak's recent promises of leniency were only a cynical show. The new court hearings will begin on July 2. Those who were found innocent as well as those found guilty will be subjected to the indignity of a new trial. The upcoming trial will violate the protections of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights( ICCPR)--which affirms in its Article 14.7 that "No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country." Egypt ratified the ICCPR in 1982. Twenty years later, it shows its contempt for its provisions.

I urge you to call on President Mubarak to ensure that all arrests and trials for consensual homosexual behavior in Egypt cease. All the "Cairo 52" defendants should be set free. Those defendants who were also charged with "contempt of religion" should be released as well: Egypt must affirm its commitment to respect freedom of conscience and belief. And all others who are imprisoned or facing trial for suspected homosexual conduct should be freed, or see their charges dropped.

Sincerely,

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