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6th October 2017, 16:05:24 UTC

The Egyptian authorities have detained at least 57 people for their perceived sexual orientation, following the display of the rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo on 22 September.

Egyptian security forces detained at least 57 people for their perceived sexual orientation following the display of the rainbow flag at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo on 22 September. The authorities have carried out at least five forced anal examinations of those arrested, which contravene the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under international law.

The security forces located two people who allegedly raised the flag. They also arrested people, unrelated to the flag incident, from several districts based on their perceived sexual orientation, and used entrapment through online dating applications to locate people to arrest.

In the week following the concert, at least nine men were sentenced to between one and six years’ imprisonment, and another 35 are facing expedited prosecutions. Among those currently being questioned is one woman, Sara Hegazy. There are another 11 detained people in different places in Cairo pending prosecutor investigation.

At least 55 of those detained face charges that include “habitual debauchery,” “inciting debauchery”, and “promoting sexual deviance”. Sara Hegazy and another man have received the same charges in addition to “belonging to a banned group”. These charges can carry prison sentences of up to 15 years.

Sara Hegazy told the prosecutor that she was beaten and sexually harassed by her cell mates after the security forces there informed her cellmates that she was charged with “habitual debauchery.”

Anyone who is detained solely because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is a prisoner of conscience.

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