Egypt: Two held in anti-gay crackdown freed on bail

(Reuters) – Two people detained in Egypt in October, after allegedly waving a rainbow flag – a symbol of same-sex rights – at a concert, have been freed on bail, a lawyer representing them and a human rights NGO said yesterday, Tuesday 2nd.

Sarah Hegazy, 28, and Ahmed Alaa, 21, were released and fined 2,000 Egyptian pounds* ($113) each, lawyer Amr Mohamed said.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information also reported their release on its Twitter account. It was unclear when their trial would resume.

Hegazy and Alaa were among dozens of people detained in the conservative Muslim country last year, on charges that included ‘promoting sexual deviancy’. The crackdown was a response to a rare show of public support for LGBT rights in Egypt.

At a September 22nd concert packed with 30,000 people, and headlined by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band, whose lead singer is openly gay, a small group of concertgoers raised a rainbow flag.

Local media said homosexuals were receiving foreign funding, and hosted callers who compared their threat to Islamic State.

Egypt, a key Western ally in the Middle East, has been under fire internationally for its human rights record. […]

*($1 = 17.6900 Egyptian pounds)

-John Davison

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