Cairo Trial of Alleged Gays Resumes Despite Defense Request for Delay
The trial of 52 Egyptian men accused of having gay sex resumed in Cairo Wednesday despite a request for postponement filed by the defense.
The court had been adjourned for nearly a month to give the defense more time to prepare its case.
But the lawyers complained that they were not allowed access to interrogation reports, and thus were not prepared to defend their clients, they told Albawaba.com in Cairo on Tuesday.
AF said that some 400 police were on hand at the state security court to keep order, after the opening session last month was disrupted by clashes between families of the accused and security forces.
Those convicted could face up to five years in prison.
The two main defendants stand accused of "exploiting the Islamic religion to spread extremist ideas" as well as practicing gay sex "as part of the group's rituals in front of the remaining defendants and others with the aim of insulting the heavenly religions and sparking civil strife."
The remaining 50 defendants are charged with "practicing debauchery with men."
The group was arrested during a raid on May 11 on a party on a Nile riverboat nightclub, known to be the meeting place for Egyptian gay community.
The arrests were received by biter criticism on the part of local and international human rights groups.
Amnesty International has said that the young men on trial are there for “their sexual orientation,” which is their right according to international law.
AFP also reported that gay and lesbian activists held a demonstration in front of the United Nations building in Geneva on Wednesday to protest against the arrest and trial of more than 50 alleged homosexuals in Egypt.
Dressed in white, 52 protestors formed a chain of giant letters spelling out "Human Rights: Free 52 Gays," said Veronique Bourquin, of the Swiss section of Amnesty International, one of the groups taking part in the protest.
About 100 people took part in the action, she added.
Inside the European headquarters of the UN, members of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights are meeting until Friday, said the agency – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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