Search form

Scroll To Top
News & Opinion

Cairo Court Acquits 26 Men Rounded Up in Bathhouse Raid, Charged With 'Debauchery'

Cairo Court Acquits 26 Men Rounded Up in Bathhouse Raid, Charged With 'Debauchery'


This is the first time an Egyptian trial court has ever cleared anyone charged with homosexuality in such a high profile case, according to activists.

According to BuzzFeed News, the 26 men rounded up in a December 7 raid on Cairo bathhouse and charged with "inciting debauchery" will not have to stand trail.

The case first rose to the public's attention after Egyptian television journalist Mona Iraqi filmed the arrest and billed the footage as an expose on the "secret behind the spreading of Aids in Egypt." Iraqi claims that she tipped off the police about the activities going on with in the bathhouse.

BuzzFeed News reports that this is the first time in Egypt's history that a trial court has acquitted men charged accused of homosexuality in a high profile case. Egyptian courts will railroad defendants, often making convictions on spurious evidence.

"This means that the rule of law still exists in our country," Tarek al-Awady, one of the defense lawyers, told reporters. "This means that we still have law here. They haven't transformed it into a totally ruthless city."

"They destroyed our lives. God rescued us," said one of the defendants, who did not give his name, toAl Jazeera.

Al-Awady says he bring charges against Lt. Col. Ahmed Hashad, the arresting officer who lead the raid, for making false testimony. He also says he'll file suit against Mona Iraqi.

Defense lawyers say that Hashad's testimony of what he witnessed in the bathhouse was too precise to be accurate. Hashad testified about the couplings and sexual positions in far too much detail for him to have truly witnessed in the dimly lit steam room, which he burst into with a team of police.

"Hashad was trying to make this a sex scene and he invented all that," said defense lawyer Abo-Seada to BuzzFeed News. "Then he discovered that he had an odd number -- this was a way to solve his problem." Hashad claimed he witnessed a three way among other things.

Hashad also enumerated how much each group had paid or was being paid for the encounter--probably in an attempt to lay the foundation for a prostitution indictment. The amounts ranged from around 100 to 300 Egyptian pounds -- about $15 to $40.

Another piece of evidence that attorneys used to defend their clients were the anal exams performed by police medical experts post-arrest. Egyptian authorities believe testing the tightness of the anal sphincter can determine whether a man is gay or not. International medical experts say this practice is unreliable and human rights activists call it a violation of basic human rights.

Despite Hashad's testimony that many of the men were being penetrated, only three were found to have "wounds" in their anuses. One of the men told lawyers that he had been raped in police custody. He claims that he was thrown into a cell stark naked along with other prisoners. Defense attorney Monhamed Zaki told BuzzFeed News that officers presented the man to the other prisoners and then ignored his cries for help while he was being raped on the cell floor.

Police records seem to debunk Iraqi's claim that she had tipped off the authorities. These indicate that the cops moved on the baths after gathering "secret information" from "secret monitoring," and not from a tip from Iraqi. In fact it might have been the other way around.

Gen. Magdy Mousa, head of the morals police, told BuzzFeed News that he believes that Hashad tipped off Iraqi. "The officer and his team were preparing for this case for a while," Mousa said. "She might be his friend so they have a good [relationship]. That's why he told her ... [It] is a mistake to allow journalists -- men or women -- to be there [for an arrest]."

Al Jazeerareports that 2014 was the worst year for Egypt's gay community in a decade: 150 people were arrested or put on trial.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Alex Panisch