A group of men arrested last month in Egypt for waving a rainbow flag are now being subjected to forced anal examinations that are nothing more than torture, reports Amnesty International.
Social media showed the men raising the flag in Cairo during a concert by the Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila, which has a gay frontman. They were arrested for "promoting sexual deviancy" and go on trial today.
Early reports said seven men were arrested. Now Human Rights Watch counts that at least 11 men were rounded up after the concert. One was entrapped via his use of a gay dating app and accused of having been at the concert, HRW says.
Amnesty International reports that before the men appear in court they are required to complete anal exams intended to prove whether they've had sex with men. There's no such test with any medical validity, which makes these so-called exams merely torture at the hands of the Forensic Medical Authority.
Amnesty International called for the men to "be released immediately and unconditionally."
"Forced anal examinations are abhorrent and amount to torture," said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International. "The Egyptian authorities have an appalling track record of using invasive physical tests which amount to torture against detainees in their custody. All plans to carry out such tests on these men must be stopped immediately."
Gay sex is not illegal in Egypt, but the country has been cracking down on supposed moral indecency, with gay men a prime target.
"Whether they were waving a rainbow flag, chatting on a dating app, or minding their own business in the streets, all these debauchery arrest victims should be immediately released," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The Egyptian government, by rounding people up based on their presumed sexual orientation, is showing flagrant disregard for their rights."