I used to think being gay was just part of my life and now I know it means dark cells and beatings. It is very, very difficult to be gay in Egypt.
I’ll tell you something. Some things that happen in your life you can forget. And there are some things that you can never forget, even for one minute. You forget the good times; you may have been happy in a moment, and you forget. But the black days you can’t forget. If it’s inside you, you remember every minute. And [the day I was tortured] was a very black day in my life. … It hurts me to remember.
I don’t sleep at all. If I sleep I would dream about the trial. If I have to go back to prison, I will kill myself. What do they want from us? I have no one to talk to, no one to ask. No one who can understand. What do they want from us? Why do they want our lives?
—Ziyad (not his real name), a defendant in the “Queen Boat” trial, interviewed by Human Rights Watch in 2003.