Same-sex marriage may still be illegal in most parts of North America and Europe, but homosexuality is widely accepted as legitimate. However, in the Middle East (except Israel), attitudes toward gay people are a whole different story and the majority of countries there do not accept it.
Egypt is no exception, and even though being gay is not strictly a crime by law, debauchery is, and that is why two men from a recent gay wedding were arrested on Saturday, according to Human Rights Watch.
After the same-sex video of the wedding emerged on the internet, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat ordered that the suspects to be detained pending investigation into their broadcasting footage that “violates public decency.”
On Monday, the men were physically examined and were then deemed by authorities not to have had sexual relations with other men tested “negative for homosexuality.”
Human Rights Watch pointed out that such intrusive and intimate examinations “violate international standards against torture,” adding that even though these tests have been used in Egyptian courts previously, they are in fact, “medically and scientifically useless” in determining whether consensual anal sex has taken place.
The HRW report noted.
“In the past, those subjected to the examinations in Egypt said they were forced to bend over while a government doctor working for the police massaged their buttocks and examined and sometimes probed their anus.”
The arrested men denied the charges against them in a TV interview in which one of them said that they were simply having a birthday party, and the ring was nothing more than a birthday gift from one man to the other.
In 2011, 23 men were arrested and sent to prison for immoral behavior and contempt of religion after they were caught taking part in an apparent “gay sex party.”
Back in April, four men were convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for debauchery after holding parties that involved homosexual acts and where women’s clothing and makeup were found.
Graeme Reid, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch, said,
“Egyptian authorities should immediately end the practice of arbitrarily arresting and torturing adults who are privately engaged in consensual sexual relations. These latest arrests are an ominous indication that President El-Sisi’s government will show no greater respect for the rights of vulnerable groups than its predecessors.”