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Digital Targeting of LGBT People by Middle East/North Africa Governments

Sarah Hegazy, an Egyptian queer feminist, raised a rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo. Rania Amdouni, a Tunisian queer activist, protested deteriorating economic conditions and police brutality in Tunis. Mohamad al-Bokari, a Yemeni blogger in Saudi…
Sarah Hegazy, Egyptian LGBTQ activist, photographed by a friend who wished to remain anonymous, at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo in 2017 © 2020 anonymous.
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When I met a former independent Lebanese parliament member, she asked me, “How can we mobilize the LGBT vote in Lebanon?” She wanted to understand why the Lebanese “LGBT community” had not voted as a block in the 2018 parliamentary elections to oppose…
LGBT activists in Beirut, Lebanon shout slogans and hold up a rainbow flag as they march to demand equal rights in a country gripped by economic and financial crisis, June 27, 2020.
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Vienna Academic Faces Abusive ‘Terrorism’ Charges

(Beirut) – Egyptian authorities should immediately release an anthropology master’s degree student at Central European University (CEU), or present evidence of actual criminal wrongdoing, Human Rights Watch said today. Police arrested the student,…
Ahmed Samir Santawy, an anthropology master’s student at Central European University (CEU) detained in February 2021.
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Overdue Action is a Step Forward

(Geneva, March 12, 2021) – Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world expressed their strong support today for a joint declaration by UN member states condemning the human rights situation in Egypt, which was delivered at the 46th…
Egyptian security forces cordon off roads during curfew hours as prevention measures due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 29, 2020
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Monitoring, Tough Message on Dire Rights Situation Long Overdue

(Geneva) – Egypt’s human rights community is facing “annihilation” by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government, more than 100 leading human rights organizations from around the world have warned today in a letter to foreign ministers. The groups…
Egyptian security forces have been involved in systematic abuses such as enforced disappearance and torture and have used abusive counterterrorism laws and measures to crush peaceful dissent. Egyptian security forces stand guard outside one of the entranc
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Drop Charges Against Witnesses, Investigate Alleged Perpetrators

Six months after a woman reported that several men had gang-raped her in Cairo’s Fairmont Hotel in 2014, Egyptian authorities have failed to adequately investigate the suspects, four of whom remain in pretrial detention while several others are under…
Women chant slogans as they gather to protest sexual harassment in front of the opera house in Cairo on June 14, 2014. 
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Authorities Punish Critics, Close Civic Space with Impunity

(Beirut) – Egyptian authorities intensified their repression of peaceful government critics and ordinary people during 2020, virtually obliterating any space for peaceful assembly, association or expression, Human Rights Watch said today in its World…
Egyptian security forces cordon off roads during curfew hours as prevention measures due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 29, 2020
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Arrests for Peaceful Speech; Death Sentences After Unfair Trials

(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities in 2020 escalated repression against online and social media activity and prosecuted critics for peaceful expression, and courts upheld death sentences against opposition activists after unfair trials, Human Rights…
Bahraini prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab wears a face mask after he was released, at his house in Budaiya in Manama, Bahrain June 9, 2020.
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Men Purportedly Subject to Abuse in Custody, Forced Anal Exams

When Seif Bedour, 21, returned to Egypt this year to visit his family after years studying abroad, he did not expect to end up behind bars. His “crime”? “Suspicion” about his sexual orientation. Bedour was looking forward to his graduation. Now, he…
Seif Bedour, 21 (Left) and Ahmed al-Ganzoury, 40 (Right)
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Relatives, Witnesses, Journalists Detained

Update: On the morning of October 6, Prosecutor General Hamada al-Sawi said in an official statement that he ordered journalist Basma Mostafa released pending investigation. Lawyers said she was ordered to pay bail of 2,000 EGP (US$128). Her release has…
Islam al-Australi, 26, who died in police custody.
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Arbitrary Arrests, Discrimination, Entrapment, Privacy Violations

(Beirut) – Egyptian police and National Security Agency officers arbitrarily arrest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and detain them in inhuman conditions, systematically subject them to ill-treatment including torture, and often…
© 2020 John Holmes for Human Rights Watch
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(Beirut, October 1, 2020) – Egyptian police and National Security Agency officers arbitrarily arrest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and detain them in inhuman conditions, systematically subject them to ill-treatment including…
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On Sunday, June 14, Sarah Hegazy, a 30-year-old Egyptian queer feminist whose resistance centered around a deconstruction of class power and struggle, took her own life in exile in Canada. Three years ago, Sarah attended a concert…
Young people wave a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert featuring the Lebanese Band Mashrou’ Leila. Activist Ahmed Alaa confirmed that he raised a rainbow flag at the concert in a Buzzfeed video including this image prior to his arrest.
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Ensure Safe Access to Uninterrupted Care

  (Beirut) – Egyptian authorities should ensure that people living with HIV can continue to safely access lifesaving medication, Human Rights Watch said today. The government on March 9, 2020 designated the country’s fever hospitals,…
A man wearing a face mask rides in an almost empty bus in Cairo, Egypt, March 30, 2020.
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Egyptian police, National Security Agency, and military officials arbitrarily arrested, forcibly disappeared, and tortured children as young as 12 while prosecutors and judges turned a blind eye, Human Rights Watch and the rights group Belady: An Island…
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Ignoring LGBT Rights Endangers People in Time of COVID-19

The Egyptian government is refusing to recognize the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, flouting its responsibility to protect the rights of everyone. On March 12, during its third Universal…
Young people wave a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert featuring the Lebanese Band Mashrou’ Leila. Activist Ahmed Alaa confirmed that he raised a rainbow flag at the concert in a Buzzfeed video including this image prior to his arrest.
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Halt Executions

(Beirut) – Bahrain’s authorities should overturn the death sentences following unfair trials against two men who say they were tortured, Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said today. The Court of…
Mohamed Ramadan (left) and Hussein Ali Moosa (right).
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(Beirut) – Egyptian security forces on March 6, 2019 arrested Malak al-Kashif, a political activist who is a transgender woman, Human Rights Watch said today. According to a lawyer with the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, al-Kashif is being…
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Egyptian-American Actor’s Portrayal of Gay Rocker Censored in Egypt

Egyptian authorities were eager to claim a connection to Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek after his best actor win at the Academy Awards last week. Egypt’s Immigration Ministry even tweeted a quote from Malek’s Oscar acceptance speech…
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