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A crackdown on gay people in Egypt intensified in recent days as security forces raided cafes in downtown Cairo and courts delivered harsh prison sentences, further driving the nation’s LGBT community underground.
More than 60 people have been arrested, human rights activists said, since a concert last month by a rock group where some members of the audience waved a rainbow flag — photos of which went viral on social media and caused public outrage.
He added that those detained “should be put on an immediate trial because they deliberately aimed to use this event to claim Egypt is a country of homosexuality, and this is not true.” Some were arrested for waving rainbow flags, and others for their Facebook posts.
“In some cases, individuals were reportedly arrested after being entrapped by law enforcement officials on apps and in Internet chat rooms,” U. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva on Friday.
Activists say that many in their community have left the country in recent weeks — or are considering doing so soon.
“We’re getting lots of messages from people seeking help getting out of the country,” said Mohamed, the activist, who has left Egypt for work and is planning to return only when it is safe.
As of Tuesday, at least 20 people in Egypt had received prison sentences ranging from six months to six years, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said, including four people who were sentenced Saturday to three years each.
The crackdown is the latest sign of the repression of political and social freedoms under the government of President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.
On Friday, the United Nations human rights office described the anti-gay raids in Egypt and similar assaults in Azerbaijan and Indonesia as unjust and violations of international law.Both had been at the concert, waving rainbow flags.Security guards ordered other female prisoners to attack Sara in her cell, Mostafa said. Egyptian authorities did not respond to requests for comment but have denied allegations by human rights groups of widespread torture by the nation’s security forces in detention facilities.More than 250 men have been prosecuted for their perceived sexual orientation, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, whose lawyers are defending those facing trials this month.The current wave of incarcerations was set off when concertgoers waved a rainbow flag at a performance by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese band with an openly gay frontman.
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[New phone app tracks forced disappearances in Egypt] Gay rights activists view the suppression of their community as part of an effort to distract from the country’s pressing political and economic woes, including rising costs of living and declining government subsidies, that have fomented anger on the streets.