The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights has observed an exponential increase in the number of individuals arrested because of their private sexual practices and/or sexual orientation from October 2013 onwards. In what is now known as the as the Public Morality Investigation Unit’s campaign against LGBTQ individuals and men who have sex with men or those perceived as such.
This increase in the rate of arrests can be observed by comparing the number of those arrested on charges of debauchery or publicizing material inciting debauchery according to law 10/1961, in the decade that preceded the campaign to the numbers of those arrested during the time-frame under consideration.
According to an article on Youm7 news website citing police statistics, the original source could not be located, the number of people arrested on these charges in the 13 years from 2003 to 2013 reached 1851. If we compare this figure with the estimated number of individuals who were arrested for the same charges since the end of 2013 and March 2017, which EIPR estimates based on media monitoring (appendix 1) we find that the number jumps to 232 individuals, bearing in mind this represents the minimum number of those who were arrested. This serves to show that the average number of individuals that are being arrested every year for habitual practice of debauchery charges increased five fold during the last security crackdown. And if the average number of individual arrested annually is around 14, then this average has increased to 66 individual during the crackdown.
A breakdown of the habitual practice of debauchery charges seen by the prosecution in the period October 2013-March 2017 is as follows:
26 people in 3 cases in the last quarter of 2013:
Cairo: 14 — Giza: 10 — Red Sea: 2
81 people in 18 cases in 2014
Cairo: 58 — Giza: 7 — Alexandria: 12 — Red Sea: 3 – Ismailia: 1
69 people in 31 cases in 2015
Giza: 36 – Cairo: 25 – Alexandria: 5 – Damietta: 2 – Red Sea: 1
44 people in 26 cases in 2016
Giza: 18 – Cairo: 16 – Alexandria: 9 – Ismailia: 1
12 people in 8 cases in first quarter of 2017
Red Sea: 5 – Cairo: 4 – Giza: 2 – Qalyubiya: 1
The highest incidence of arrests of gay men, transgender women or those perceived as such, was in Cairo with a total of 128 arrests during the three-and-a-half year period covered in the study. The neighbouring governorate of Giza was second with 73 arrests, followed by Alexandria with 26 arrests, the Red Sea with 11 arrests, then Ismailia and Damietta with two arrests in each governorate and finally Qalyubiya where one arrest was documented.
Electronic entrapment comes at the forefront of methods used to track down and arrest individuals. Among 232 individuals arrested 129 were arrested via dating and social networking websites, 39 through police reports received from domestic residence, 19 arrested through raiding their residence, 10 others after being put under surveillance, 6 men were arrested for wearing women’s clothes, 3 were arrested on the street, 6 from hotels and 10 through campaigns and finally 3 arrested without stating the means or conditions of arrest.
As can be observed, although there was a significant increase in number of cases for the years succeeding 2014, yet the total number of those arrested was less, due to the increase in personally targeting those arrested, in addition to online entrapment increasing as well.
This report relies on a legal analysis of 25 cases, along with testimonies from the defendants, interviews with their parents, and with a number of lawyers who specialize in such cases. These lawyers spoke with EIPR sharing their comments and opinions with regards how the criminal justice system in Egypt deals with such cases, as well as, understanding the litigation strategies that rights lawyers use in debauchery cases, and related crimes such as public indecency, and operating a residence for the purpose of debauchery or prostitution.
The report’s appendices include information on Egyptian media coverage, during the period of documentation, and number of defence memos which were used by lawyers who participated in defending those arrested in these cases. In addition to, a copy of law 10/1961 concerning combatting prostitution and debauchery.
1 Ibrahim, Mohamed. "Morality Police: 185 Sexual Deviants Arrested in Egypt during the Past 13 Years". Youm7. 25 September 2013. Accessed 13 November 2017