Last updated: 17 December, 2014

Egypt arrests 26 suspected gays for “debauchery”

Twenty-sex men suspected of having organised or taken part in homosexual orgies at a public bath in Egypt are to go on trial for "debauchery", a judicial official said Wednesday.

He said the men were arrested on December 7 at a hammam in the Azbakeya district of central Cairo and are to go on trial Sunday.

The owner of the establishment and four employees are among those accused and face charges of “running a place of debauchery”.

A television presenter, Mona Iraqi, is said to have reported the hammam to police after uncovering the activities while researching a programme on AIDS and prostitution in Egypt.

Egyptian law does not expressly ban homosexuality but gay men have previously been arrested and charged with debauchery instead.

In November, a Cairo court sentenced eight men to three years in jail for “inciting debauchery and offending public morality” after video footage of an alleged gay marriage went viral on the Internet.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has condemned prosecutions of homosexuals in Egypt.

“Over the years, Egyptian authorities have repeatedly arrested, tortured, and detained men suspected of consensual homosexual conduct,” it said in September.