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Egypt Blasted by French Stars,
6,000 French Citizens & IGLHRC

Letter Protesting Arrests / Jailings Delivered to President Mubarak

IGLHRC Asking Help from George Bush and the European Union

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

More than 6,000 Frenchmen, including many celebrities, signed an open letter to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak protesting Egypt's ongoing arrests and jailings of gays.

The letter was handed over to the Egyptian Embassy in Paris February 8 by composer and musician Jean-Michel Jarre, just ahead of Mubarak's arrival in the city.
President Hosni Mubarak: Urged to stop persecution of gays

Among the celebrity signers were actress Catherine Deneuve, former Manchester United football star Eric Cantona and French television presenter and film director Frederic Mitterrand, nephew of the late president, according to Agence France-Presse, a news wire service.

Egyptian police and prosecutors have been on the rampage against gays for several months and more than 40 men have been sent to prison for up to five years simply for being gay.

Most recently, on February 3, a court in Boulak-al-Dakrour near Cairo convicted four men of consensual homosexual behavior ("the habitual practice of debauchery") and jailed them for three years.

During a meeting with Mubarak February 9, French President Jacques Chirac expressed "concern" over the crackdown and asked Mubarak if it would be possible to release the men from prison. "In the name of the defense of freedoms and the avowal of all forms of discrimination, the president expressed his deep emotion and worry," Chirac's press secretary said.

Meanwhile, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission has denounced the U.S. government and the governments of the nations of the European Union for "ignoring" the crackdown.

"As the arrests and draconian convictions of alleged homosexuals in Egypt intensify, IGLHRC [calls upon] the Bush administration and the European Union to pressure Egypt's government to end the campaign of persecution and to release the men now in prison," the group said.

"Because of charges about their consensual sexual conduct, scores of innocent people are tortured and sent to prison or hard labor in Egypt -- and the Egyptian government is rewarded with hard cash," said IGLHRC Program Director Scott Long.

"We have documented cases that all follow the same pattern: entrapment, unjust accusations with fabricated evidence, police beatings, biased courts and media -- all leading to heavy sentences. We fear we have only seen the tip of the iceberg."

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
55 Arrested in Cairo Discotheque Charged with 'Satanism'

Release Teen Male Jailed in Egypt says Amnesty International

Egypt's Conviction of 23 Condemned by Human Rights Watch

Related Sites:
International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission

History of Egyptian Crackdown from Wockner International News

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