The Azbakeya Criminal Court postponed Monday its verdict in the trial of 26 defendants in the “Ramses bath house” case until 12 January, state media reported.
Last December, police raided a bath house in Ramses, near Cairo’s main railway station, and arrested 26 men on charges of “debauchery” and organising same-sex “orgies”, the Ministry of Interior said.
On Sunday, the defence questioned the arrest procedures the police undertook to arrest the defendants. They accused security forces of permitting a camera crew from a privately owned TV channel to film the arrests, Deutsche Welle reported.
Four of the defendants, including the owner of the bathhouse, are charged with “running a place that organises paid sexual orgies”, while the other 21 are facing charges of debauchery.
The latter group also underwent intrusive anal examinations by the forensic department to determine whether they were “habitual” homosexuals.
The forensic department announced that three suspects were found to be “victims of sexual assault”. It added that the tests could not reveal whether the other 18 suspects participated in homosexual relations or not.
The arrests were reported and featured by an investigative TV show on private satellite station Al-Qahera Wal-Nas, showing footage of the semi-naked defendants while being tied and arrested by the police
The show’s cast named the episode “revealing the reasons behind the spread of HIV in Egypt and the group sex business”. The programme received harsh criticism by social media users and LGBT activists. The programme host, investigative journalist Mona Iraqi, posted watermarked photos of the alleged semi-naked defendants while being arrested.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, although men accused of it often face charges of debauchery or public indecency.
A report by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) on Saturday claimed that since the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, at least 150 individuals have been arrested on charges of debauchery. Gay rights activists have stated that the atmosphere towards homosexuality is worse now than under the Muslim Brotherhood.