A gay man was arrested in Egypt after police claimed they found an ad that he had posted online looking for sex with other men.
The man in his 30s, who we will call Ayman to protect his safety, was tracked by authorities after he allegedly posted the advert.
Activists have said it is very possible that Ayman could have simply written he was interested in men on his Facebook profile, and this made him a target.
Police arrested him, holding him without a phone call or a lawyer for four days. During this time, police ransacked his house looking for more ‘evidence’.
Following the raid, according to local media sources, police claimed they found female underwear and sex toys. They then accused Ayman of being ‘insane’ and promoting ‘immorality’.
A trial is to follow.
Ibrahim Abdella, an Egyptian human rights activist from the group Solidarity with Egypt LGBT, said police are tracking the Facebook profiles of the LGBTI community, using their contacts, chat histories, pictures and posts as evidence of their ‘crimes’.
If they feel there isn’t enough to charge them, they ‘trap’ people by tricking them into a false date with a police officer.
The same law to prosecute gay men is the same as the one the authorities are using to charge sex workers.
‘We are against this law because it is very oppressive,’ Abdella told Gay Star News. ‘It is used in many ways in the suppression of personal freedom.’
There have been at least 150 arrests of LGBTI people since Abdel Fattah el Sisi assumed presidency of Egypt. In addition to the arrests, the media has since been running a propaganda campaign against gay and trans people, calling them a ‘Western Evil’.
In January, a trans woman was arrested and sentenced to six years in prison for coming out on YouTube.