Thursday, March 13, 2008

Egypt: New Indictments In HIV Crackdown

All this is not my stuff, but I think we should know about it. Why do I care? Why shouldnt I?

The Egyptian government has handed down indictments against five more men who are HIV-positive.

The five are among 12 men detained on grounds of HIV since October 2007, in what appears to be a widening police crackdown. All were held on charges of "habitual practice of debauchery," a term used under Egyptian law to prosecute consensual sexual acts between men.

Four of the 12 already have been sentenced to one-year prison terms. (story) Charges against three others were dropped.

Before issuing the indictment, the lead prosecutor told a lawyer for the defendants that the men should not be allowed to "roam the streets freely" because the government considered them "a danger to public health,"

police arrested the first two men after stopping them during an altercation in the street. At that time one told police officers that he was HIV-positive.

The defendants’ lawyers told Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that officers detained both men, beat them and subjected them to abusive and intrusive physical examinations, trying to prove they had engaged in homosexual conduct. They then arrested other men whose names or personal information were found in the two men’s possession.

According to the Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, doctors from Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population subjected all 12 detainees to HIV tests without their consent. Authorities kept those who tested HIV-positive confined in hospitals for weeks. They were chained to their beds until February 25, when the ministry ordered them unchained after domestic and international outcry.

The case files also contained the results of the compulsory HIV tests. Four of the five men tested HIV-positive. The three men whose charges were dropped tested HIV-negative.

"These men have been treated as if they are a national threat simply because four of them were found to be HIV-positive," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

"The authorities should not be prosecuting them, but rather investigating the abuse and ill-treatment meted out against them and taking steps to ensure that such abuse does not happen again."

Oh well, no comment. But it is a shame that in this day and age a country can treat someone who is HIV positive like a criminal. Thought we had got over that some time ago...



The 27th Comrade said...

What the fuck?

But what is it with Egypt? I mean, I can understand a bit of homophobia (religion-influenced, et cetera), but stigmatise HIV people that much ...
This is insane. What, Egypt has not heard of heterosexual HIV sufferers? In the whole fuckin' world? I don't know if it is aimed at HIV people, by pretending they are all gay (and therefore fit to be locked off).

Now, HIV tests are supposed to be voluntary: how did they get those guys? Did they test them forcibly? Also, how will they explain the occurrences of HIV among women? Are those women cross-dressers? Are those women gay men? Whichever they pick, doesn't that ...

Sheesh. Egypt! Shit. (And the words just fail.)

The 27th Comrade said...

But I should check this stuff out more-independently. You never know who's sensationalising. And this just sounds too sick to be true. May be mere propaganda.

Princess said...

The use of the word "debauchery" just about shows how advanced they are in their thinking!
oh, and I agree with the 27th's first comment (word for word)...
I just have trouble expressing myself when anger and disbelief are clogging my fingertips!

gayuganda said...

Hi 27th,

I am afraid the story is true. It has been running for some time, and hell, it is not 'disinformation'

Maybe to clarify, the reasoning was that only gay men get HIV.
So when someone said that he had HIV, they suspected that he was gay. So he was tortured until he confessed, and they got some 8 other people from him. And they were tested for HIV. Those who were HIV positive were condemned because they are supposedly gay.

The proof that they are gay is that they are HIV positive.

I like the clarity of that logic.

Sick, yes?

too sick to be true? Unfortunately, not. It is sick. And it is true. I saw an article from an Egyptian Medical association talking about the fact that they had had to intervene to make sure that they were not chained to their hospital beds. So, if I cannot believe PlusNews, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch when there facts do check out, I would be the one who is deluding myself.

Sick, oh yeah.


DeTamble said...

In Uganda do people have to pay to get the HIV test or is it free?

gayuganda said...


most have to pay, except some times when you can figure out when to get it without paying.
Or with some programs or occasions, etc.

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