New doco reveals the queer witch hunt happening in Egypt

Ahmed Shihab El-Din
Image: BBC World Service Youtube

In a new BBC documentary titled Queer Egypt Under Attack, a reporter explores the underbelly of Egypt’s corrupt police system.

Reporter Ahmed Shihab-Eldin explains that while there is no law explicitly criminalising homosexuality, the prosecution of sex work is being used to target the LGBTQI+ community.

The documentary details how Egyptian police officers use online dating sites to specifically seek out LGBTQI+ people online.

The officers then allegedly lure LGBTQI+ people to meet in public – and in some cases allegedly fabricate evidence against LGBTQI+ people looking for dates online.

Manipulation tactics

The documentary goes into depths revealing how the police initiate text conversations with their targets.

One of the text conversations shown in the documentary reveals these tactics.

The conversation takes place between an undercover police officer and someone using the social networking and dating app WhosHere.

The officer seemingly pressures the user to meet up in person:

Police: Have you slept with men before?

App user: Yes

Police: How about we meet?

App user: But I live with mom and dad

Police: Come on dear, don’t be shy, we can meet in public and then go to my flat.

The user was reportedly later arrested.

No longer just sex workers at risk

In Egypt – as in many places around the world, Police can pose as someone else in order to gather evidence of criminal behaviour.

But reading the transcripts, it seems that some of these people are only looking for love, dates or friendships online.

Usually, the police operate to identify sex workers by baiting them into a request for money.

However, as Ahmed reveals in the documentary, some of these interactions don’t mention any financial transactions at all.

According to one transcript, an informant conversed with a foreign visitor named Matt, who sent nudes and was willing to meet up for sex without financial compensation.

Matt was then arrested, charged with ‘debauchery’ and eventually deported.

Another case shown in the documentary follows a man who goes by the name of Laith.

Laith explains that he was simply meeting an old acquaintance on a date before being seized by officers.

The officers then threatened to fabricate evidence of Laith being a sex-worker unless he agreed to be an informant for them.

Laith believes they were asking him to reveal the details of all of his gay friends and contacts.

Laith chose not to disclose this information, and was subsequently charged with “habitual debauchery”.

Since these horrific crackdowns began, popular dating apps have issued a warning to users about police possibly using the app.

“Queer people still exist,” Ahmed says, “even if the government seems to want to make them disappear.”

Queer Egypt Under Attack 

Watch the full documentary, Queer Egypt Under Attack down below.

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Nate Woodall

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    1 February 2023

    And why aren’t so-called progressive Governments around the World calling out this behaviour?
    The UNHCR perhaps?

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