Police in Egypt are said to be luring gay men on hookup app Grindr and arresting them, even though it’s legal to be gay.
Reports from local media suggest the police are using features of the app, namely location and profile pictures, to identify them.
The men are then charged with ‘inciting debauchery’. According to the Jerusalem Post, 11 men were sentenced for up to 12 years in prison for this charge, in April.
Egypt is one of the few countries where homosexuality is de facto illegal.
This means it’s technically not banned, but police and the justice system use loopholes like ‘inciting debauchery’ to penalize men who sleep with men.
According to research from the Pew Research Center conducted in 2013, 95% of Egyptians think homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
A lifestyle magazine in the capital, CairoScene, said Grindr was ‘jeopardizing the safety’ of queer Egyptian men.
‘It baffles me how easily people are willing to share such personal information in a country like Egypt – it is beyond stupid,’ a source from the magazine told the Jerusalem Post.
‘I would advise anyone to be careful when dating online,’ they said.