Neighbors have broken into a gym and sauna in Egypt and ‘destroyed it’ after a police raid against gay sex, according to unconfirmed reports GSN has received.
It’s the latest development after at least 14 men were arrested for practicing ‘immorality’ or ‘homosexual acts’ inside the premises in the working-class El Marg district of Cairo.
Some reports are suggesting the 14 were paraded to the police station either naked or only partly clothed after the raid on Friday (11 October).
A prosecutor ordered they should be held for ‘forensic reports’. Again unconfirmed reports suggest this may include ‘anal probe’ tests to examine if they have engaged in gay anal sex.
These tests, often used in the Middle East and North Africa have been discredited as scientifically meaningless and are considered a form of torture by international human rights bodies.
The men who may undergo this range in age from just 18 to 57.
Egyptian media and GSN reported the number of arrests at 14 but it has now emerged that may just be the number of ‘clients’ rounded up in the raid. Workers and the ‘health club’ manager have also apparently been detained.
With the manager and staff away, locals are alleged to have broken into the center and vandalized it. However, this report from a GSN Egyptian contact has not been independently verified.
It may be the same people were the ones who tipped off the police about ‘fahesha’ or ‘immorality’ on the premises, sparking the police investigation and raid.
The prosecutor also ordered the premises should be shut down.
One western Egyptian LGBT expert, Scott Long, has added extra insight to the raid and analysis of what may have prompted it on his blog.
Of the raided ‘health center’ he says: ‘I have at least one friend who has visited. It was a small gym and sauna, converted from a private apartment and operating as a business for years.
‘It’s well known in the surrounding streets; when my friend went there about three years ago – before the Revolution – and asked directions, the neighbors said “Oh, the hammam!”, or baths, and pointed the way.’
Egyptian media reported the clients had paid E£50 to E£200 (Egyptian pounds) ($7 €5 to $29 €21) but Long disputes this.
He writes: ‘The entry fee was E£25 [$3.50 €2.70] back then [when his friend visited]. It’s unlikely the price has gone up eightfold in the interim, so the figures the police gave (with the strong suggestion of prostitution) are probably nonsense.
‘There is a good chance that the “pills and sexual stimulants” the police found are vitamins, or even steroids.’