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Viewing cable 09CAIRO219, TEN MEN DETAINED FOR ALLEGED HOMOSEXUAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO219 2009-02-05 15:03 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO3885
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0219 0361513
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 051513Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1573
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 000219 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NEA/ELA AND DRL/NESCA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2029 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM SOCI EG
SUBJECT: TEN MEN DETAINED FOR ALLEGED HOMOSEXUAL 
"DEBAUCHERY" 
 
REF: A. 08 CAIRO 1129 B. 08 CAIRO 739 C. 03 CAIRO 2078 Classified By: ECPO Mincouns William R. Stewart per 1.4 (d).
1.(C) Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Executive Director Hossam Bahgat told us February 4 that police arrested ten Egyptian men on January 2 who are now facing "debauchery" charges for allegedly engaging in homosexual acts at a New Year's party in the Cairo neighborhood of Mohandiseen. He noted that the men remain in detention, and that a judge's decision on whether to continue to hold them is expected on February 17. According to Bahgat, the police arrested the ten men "without any evidence," detained them and forced them to undergo anal examinations and HIV testing. Bahgat said they tested HIV-negative. Bahgat emphasized that the men are facing charges, but have not been indicted. (Note: Egyptian law criminalizes "habitual debauchery," which is interpreted to include homosexuality, and the maximum penalty is a three-year prison sentence. End note.)

2.(C) Bahgat told us that EIPR lawyers are representing the men, and that at EIPR's request, Amnesty International (AI) sent a private letter to the Public Prosecutor (Egypt's Attorney-General equivalent) to urge him to release the men. The AI letter asserts that judges have ordered the men to be held in "preventive detention" for successive 15 day periods since January 2. Bahgat commented that the case has not been in the press, and that EIPR believes there is a greater chance the judge will release the men if the incident remains unknown to the public and lacking an overtly political dimension. He therefore asked us not to mention the case publicly, but requested that we raise it privately with the GOE.

3.(C) We raised the case February 5 with MFA Deputy Assistant Minister for Human Rights Wael Aboulmagd who responded that the men's continued detention without being indicted might be cause for concern. Aboulmagd committed to checking with the Public Prosecutor and briefing us on the results of his inquiry.

4.(C) Comment: In March 2003, a Cairo criminal court sentenced 50 allegedly homosexual men who were arrested in a 2001 nightclub raid to three years in prison for "habitual debauchery" in the infamous "Queen Boat case" (ref C). In January and April 2008 Egyptian courts convicted nine HIV-positive men of "habitual debauchery" and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from one to three years (ref B). In 2008, charges were dropped against three other men who tested HIV-negative, a development that EIPR believed was significant (ref B). Because the currently detained men tested HIV-negative, there could be an increased chance the judge may release them later in February. SCOBEY