An Egyptian court has found a TV host guilty of “promoting” homosexuality and contempt of religion for interviewing a gay man on air last year.
Host Mohamed al-Gheiti was sentenced to one year in prison and was also slapped with a 3,000 ($235 AUD) Egyptian pounds fine by the misdemeanours court in Giza, according to AFP.
The court also ordered that Gheiti be placed under surveillance for 12 months after his release from prison.
Gheiti has previously expressed his anti-LGBTIQ views on-air, but this did not stop lawyer Samir Sabri from bringing forth a case against him for inviting a gay man on his talk show at LTC TV last year.
The guest, whose face was blurred to maintain his anonymity, discussed homosexuality with Gheiti and told him that he was a sex worker and shared details about his same-sex relationship during the interview in August 2018.
According to Sabri, Gheti can still make an appeal against the verdict if he pays the bail money amounting to 1,000 Egyptian pounds, pending the outcome of the appeal.
After airing the interview, Egypt’s top media body, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, suspended LTC TV for two weeks and cited “professional violations” as the grounds for the suspension because the network had allowed a homosexual to appear on television.
In a statement following the suspension, the council said that LTC TV disobeyed their policy regarding “banning the appearance of homosexuals or promotion of their slogans.”
In October, a group of Egyptian men were arrested for waving a rainbow flag during a 2017 concert in Cairo.
Since then, the council has prohibited the appearance of homosexuals on any media outlet, a decision that was widely criticised by social rights groups.
While there is no law prohibiting homosexuality in Egypt, same-sex relationships remain a taboo in the Muslim nation, with debauchery laws occasionally being used to prosecute LGBTIQ people.