Misdemeanor court issues 4 prison sentences for “homosexual acts”

CAIRO: Nasr City Misdemeanor Court sentenced Monday four men to prison over charges of “habitual debauchery” and for practicing homosexuality, judicial sources told Al-Watan newspaper Monday.

One of the four men was jailed for three years on charges of “facilitating debauchery” as he rented his apartment to the other three men, said the source.

The other three men were jailed for eight years on charges of practicing habitual debauchery for money, holding congregational “deviant parties” and dressing in women’s clothes.

Several local and international human rights organizations condemned the verdict.

“We are alarmed and disappointed to hear of the verdict convicting these men based on their sexual orientation and identity.” said U.S.-based Human Rights First in a statement Monday.

Egyptian law does not explicitly ban homosexuality, but prosecutors used legislation that bans debauchery to try homosexuals. According to article 9c of Law No. 10 of 1961 on the combat of prostitution, habitual debauchery and obscene behavior are criminalized, Alaa El Din Mohamed, assistant lawyer at Ain Shams University, told The Cairo Post.

The penalty ranges from three to eight years, said Mohamed.

Several scholars at Al-Azhar University refused to comment on the ruling while Ahmed Hashem, a prominent member of the Senior Scholars Authority said Islam is against any odd acts that “defy normality,” including homosexuality.

“Sodomy is taboo according to the Islamic provisions and Quran has clear texts that ban it,” said Hashem.

In 2001, the State Security Court reviewed what became known as the “Queen Boat” case, in which 52 men were arrested on charges of debauchery and deriding religion. Of those, 21 were convicted of habitual debauchery and sentenced to prison terms of one to two years, according to Al-Ahram.

They were arrested on cruise boat in the Nile in Egypt’s upscale district of Zamalek.

The key defendant was jailed for five years for “scorning” religion and debauchery, while another defendant was jailed for three years on charges of deriding Islam. Twenty-nine others were acquitted.

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