An Egyptian court on Monday acquitted
26 men arrested last month during a police raid on a Cairo public
The men were charged with performing
indecent acts and “debauchery” – a term commonly used to
describe homosexual acts.
According to The Los Angeles Times,
the raid was instigated by a reporter for a pro-government television
channel (Al-Qahira wal Nas), Mona Iraqi, who provided gleeful
commentary as police pulled out the half-naked men from the
bathhouse. Iraqi claimed that her investigation was meant to aid in
stopping the spread of AIDS.
During their trial, the men endured
public humiliation locked in a cage generally reserved for criminal
cases. Their lawyers said that their highly publicized arrests led
to loss of employment for many of the defendants. The men were not
isolated while in prison and at least three showed signs of having
been sexually assaulted, the Times
“They destroyed our lives,” said
an unnamed defendant. “God rescued us.”
In November, an Egyptian court
sentenced eight men to three years in prison for appearing in a
1-minute video which claims to be from Egypt's first gay wedding. An
appeals court in December reduced
their sentences to one year in prison.