Police forces, engaged in a pre-Eid morality campaign, have arrested 11 ‘homosexuals’ accused of offering sexual services, as part of a series of arrests across Cairo.
The men, who now face prosecution, were arrested from two apartments in Agouza, alongside sexual toys and women’s clothing, state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported. The men are alleged to be part of a network that offered sex for EGP 1,500 an hour, acquiring clients through social media.
The Ministry of Interior’s general directorate of investigations led by Major General Ahmed Shafie is reported to have intensified campaigns to raid cafes and nightclubs that operate without appropriate licenses, including the targeting of brothels. The ministry also said that the campaign will include tackling harassment and ensuring no disorder occurs in streets and public areas throughout Eid. As part of the raids the police also caught a civilian pilot with two prostitutes at an apartment in Mohandessin.
Egyptian police have long used the Internet to entrap homosexuals, most commonly through the use of gay-friendly mobile apps such as Grindr and Growlr, arranging to meet men and then arresting them.
“These pre-Eid morality raids have been going on for some time,” Dalia Abdel Hameed, head of the Gender Studies programme at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights told Daily News Egypt. “We have almost got used to expecting them.”
Earlier in September, local news reported on the arrest of a man by the same moral police team led by Major General Shafie. According to El-Watan, the man is alleged to have engaged in “sexual perversion” (homosexuality) with men for money. The man was caught using social media, on sites in which he offered his services.
Although not explicitly illegal under Egyptian law, individuals suspected of homosexuality are commonly prosecuted on charges of debauchery or undermining public morality.
In January, a Cairo court acquitted 26 defendants accused of homosexual activities in a bath house. The case drew international criticism for the televised police sting on the men, led by controversial TV host Mona Iraqi. One of the men reportedly later set himself on fire despite the acquittal, owing to what he said was intense social attacks on him. In December, eight men were given one-year prison sentences for allegedly taking part in a gay marriage ceremony on a Nile boat.