Egypt’s government could introduce ‘the worst laws against LGBTIQ people in the world’

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Kashmira Gander writes at International Business Times:

In 2011 when the Arab Spring movement swelled up in Egypt, gay rights groups were buoyed by a sense that the country would soon be riding a wave of social progression. Six years later, Egypt is on the cusp of passing what experts have described as one of the most repressive laws on homosexuality in the world, as police carry out invasive body searches which amount to torture.

The crackdown on those perceived to be homosexual began after two individuals unfurled a rainbow flag – an international symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) movement – at a concert by the Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila, whose singer is openly gay. Following the show on 23 September, the police launched a brutal crackdown, arresting almost 70 people in a month – compared with 300 in the whole of 2016. Over 20 of those have been dealt prison sentences of between six months and six years, Dalia Abdel Hameed of the rights group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) told Reuters.

Officials have also subjected detainees to anal examinations, according to Amnesty International. With no medical basis, this practise amounts to torture and therefore breaches international law.

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