Target: President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Goal: Drop charges against the eight men who posted a video supposedly depicting a gay marriage
Eight men have been sentenced to serve three years in prison and three years of probation upon release for recording and posting a video ostensibly of Egypt’s first gay marriage. Though homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, it is still taboo and depictions of homosexual activity can lead to charges of indecency as deemed by the court.
The video was posted to YouTube in September 2014 and shows two men kissing, exchanging rings and cutting a cake while others around them rejoice. The defendants have denied the charges, saying that the video depicts a birthday party, not a marriage. Either way, the eight men were convicted of spreading a video that “violated public decency,” and was called “shameful to God” and “offensive to public morals” by Egypt’s chief prosecutor. The sentence—which can be appealed—led to an uproar of protests outside the court from the defendants’ families.
Not only were the men subject to harassment by police and the courts, but they were given an anal examination—a practice condemned by Human Rights Watch—to determine if they had engaged in anal sex. The invasive examination deemed the men innocent of having anal sex, a point Hesham Abdel Hamed of the justice ministry’s forensic department stressed to the deaf ears of the court.
The arrests and sentences of the eight men are by no means isolated events but are part of a recent scourge of arrests and harassment leveled at suspected homosexuals, atheists and activists across Egypt. In 2001, 52 men were arrested on charges of perceived homosexual activity and in April 2014, four men were sentenced to eight years imprisonment for “debauchery.”
Demand all eight men be released immediately and the charges against them be dropped.
Dear President el-Sisi,
Eight men were sentenced to three years imprisonment and three years of probation for broadcasting a video that purportedly depicts a homosexual marriage. Whether the video truly does show two men marrying or a riverboat birthday party, the eight men involved surely do not deserve to spend the next three years in prison for posting a video of a party in which no one is hurt or indecent. Their arrest is a violation of their rights and proof of the intolerance of the Egyptian Government.
Homosexuality itself is not a crime in Egypt and there is no proof that these men engaged in homosexual activity. The video shows two men kissing, this is true, but mothers kiss sons and fathers kiss daughters.
I urge you to immediately release all eight men and drop the ridiculous charges against them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Regnauld Buntario via Flickr