UNITED KINGDOM — (01-30-23) — Egyptian police are targeting the LGBTQ community (primarily Gay Men),  through dating apps. That is what BBC investigative reporter Ahmed Shihab-Eldin discovered.

While the LGBTQ community is heavily stigmatized in Egypt, there have long been allegations that police officers are targeting the LGBTQ community via dating apps.

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin reports…:

All victims’ names have been changed

Having grown up in Egypt, I am aware of the pervasive homophobia that permeates every part of its society. But friends there tell me that the atmosphere has recently become far more brutal, and the tactics for tracking down LGBT people more sophisticated.

There is no explicit law against homosexuality in Egypt, but our investigation has found that the crime of “debauchery” – a sex work law – is being used to criminalise the LGBT community.

Transcripts submitted in police arrest reports show how officers are posing online to seek out – and in some cases allegedly fabricate evidence against – LGBT people looking for dates online.

They reveal how the police initiate text conversations with their targets.

Egypt is one of the most strategically important Western allies in the Middle East and receives billions of dollars in US and EU support every year. Around half a million British tourists visit the country annually and the UK trains Egyptian police forces, via the UN.

In one text conversation between an undercover police officer and someone using the social networking and dating app WhosHere, the officer appears to be pressuring the app user to meet up in person – that person was later arrested.

Police: Have you slept with men before?

App user: Yes

Police: How about we meet?

App user: But I live with mom and dad

Police: Come on dear, don’t be shy, we can meet in public and then go to my flat.

There are more examples which are too explicit to publish.

Read more on Ahmed Shihab-Eldin investigation into the targeting of the LGBT people in Egypt.

Watch BBC Queer Egypt Under Attack Special

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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