Egypt’s Anti-LGBTQ Crackdown Continues: At Least 57 People Have Been Arrested by Police

· Updated on May 28, 2018

The number of people arrested in Egypt following an unprecedented crackdown on the LGBTQ community continues to skyrocket: Reports state that authorities have apprehended at least 57 individuals.

Twenty-two of these arrests have taken place within the last three days, according to the independent news outlet Egyptian Streets.

The siege on LGBTQ life in the North African country ignited in response to a Mashrou’ Leila concert held last month in Cairo’s Music Park in Festival City. Several fans of the Lebanese music group, whose lead singer is openly gay, hoisted a Pride flag at a Sept. 22 show in support of the LGBTQ community. Police used photos posted on social media and security footage to identify those holding the rainbow banner.

Nine individuals arrested following the concert have been sentenced to prison, as Gay Star News reports. The sentences handed down range between one and six years.

Egypt is one of the more than 70 countries where homosexuality remains illegal, and even pro-LGBTQ displays are targeted by authorities. The detainees are currently being charged with “incitement to debauchery,” a 1961 law that police use to criminalize any activity they don’t like. At least 35 people will face prosecution under the debauchery law, including two straight Egyptians.

The defendants have allegedly been subjected to anal examinations during their arrest, a practice which has been condemned by the United Nations and World Health Organization as torture.

Egypt has responded to the police raids by banning media from expressing support for the LGBTQ community.

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