At least 43 people have been detained in Egypt simply because of a rainbow flag.
The search began two weeks ago after several pictures of people dancing with the LGBTQ+ flag in a concert were posted online. The police claimed that the people who were arrested were “homosexuals who raised the LGBT flag and encouraged the practice of immoral acts.”[caption id="attachment_104619" align="alignnone" width="600"] Members of the band Mashrou’ Leila appear with the rainbow flag after a concert Sunday in Alexandria, Va. On Sept. 22, Cairo. Photo courtesy of Mashrou’ Leila/Twitter[/caption]
Most of those who were arrested have been put through a quick trial and even sentenced to six years in prison. Victims have been arrested under the charges of “habitual debauchery” and “inciting immorality”. Some victims have been located through dating apps, tricked into dates, which later were found to be traps. Anyone who fits outside the box of looking heterosexual and cis are in danger.
“In a matter of days the Egyptian security forces have rounded up dozens of people and carried out five anal examinations signaling a sharp escalation in the authorities’ efforts to persecute and intimidate members of the LGBTI community following the rainbow flag incident,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.
On Oct. 1, a man was also detained in the Mediterranean port city of Damietta in the same situation of the rainbow flag incident. Six people were also detained in Cairo for promoting “habitual debauchery” through dating apps and four arrests took place in a flat in Giza.
The authorities also detained one woman suspected of raising the rainbow flag at the concert. She has been charged with “promoting sexual deviancy” and “habitual debauchery,” in the first such incident involving a woman in years.
The faces of Egyptian politics, leaders and the media are not helping the situation. Instead, they use the platforms to spew hatred and publicly humiliate the victims.
Authorities have claimed that the people they’ve detained is because of “debauchery” but the underlying truth is that the police are on a manhunt for the LGBTQ.
Egypt is an incredibly conservative country, where being LGBT is a crime.