The Sisi government's repression of Egypt's LGBT community

Published: February 21, 2015

Paul Iddon
Original Article:

Under the pretext or preserving public morality gay men have found self-described the Egyptian Ministry of Interior’s “vice squad” (a euphemistic term with connotations eerily reminiscent of “moral police”) charging and arresting them for “debauchery”. Their rights are, like many of their compatriots, pretty much non-existent, especially if they are deemed by the authorities to be a threat to the security of the state or public morality.

Remember, this isn’t Saudi Arabia, Iran or Gaza. This is today’s Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Even though his regime has tried to promote itself as secularist it certainly isn’t very liberal and has taken some questionable actions which it apparently thinks will ameliorate a disgruntled populace who have had to endure years of, often very violent, instability, terrorism and political repression. Things which are clearly not going to end anytime soon. The present government claims to represent what Egyptians sought in the 2011 revolution, yet resembles more and more that of the authoritarian Mubarak regime which Egyptians of all sectors of society rallied together in the streets to protest against in January 2011.

The increasingly anti-LGBT stance of the authorities under Sisi resembles more the kind of behaviour Egyptian liberals would have expected from the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohammed Morsi. However in the wake of the banning and crackdown upon the Brotherhood the Egyptian government has exploited the instability in Egypt in order to arrest anyone they find objectionable, consequently the inmates of Egypt’s prisons these days consists of Islamists and secularists alike whose activism the Egyptian authorities deem to be a threat. As with many Middle Eastern autocrats before him Sisi claims there are no political prisoners in his jails, just terrorists and common criminals.

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