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Egypt man who accompanied Fairmont witness to police station detained for alleged sexual orientation

November 3, 2020 at 1:15 pm

The five-star Fairmont Nile City hotel, where an alleged sexual assault took place in 2014, in the Egyptian capital Cairo on 30 July 2020 [SAMER ABDALLAH/AFP via Getty Images]

A young Egyptian man has been arrested and detained, allegedly for his sexual orientation, after he accompanied a Fairmont Hotel witness to the police station.

Seif Badour, 21, was visiting Egypt on a break from studying abroad in August when he was arrested, reports Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Over the summer, nine men were accused of drugging and raping a woman at the luxury Fairmont Nile City Hotel in 2014. The group allegedly filmed the rape and then used the footage to blackmail the victim.

Bedour was 14 and was not present when the rape happened, HRW says. His female friend and witness to the incident had been arrested at dawn and he wanted to voluntarily accompany her to the station so that she wouldn’t be alone, his family said.

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Despite the high media pressure surrounding the case, and hopes this would lead to convictions of the rapists themselves rather than punitive measures against the woman, in total, three female witnesses to the gang rape were arrested and investigated for drug abuse, inciting debauchery and participation in an orgy.

The three women were smeared online with pro-government websites claiming they were part of a network of homosexuals in Egypt spreading AIDS. Egypt has a history of persecuting its LGBTQ community.

At the station, police searched the phones of Badour and Ahmed Al-Ganzoury, who was summoned to the police station because he organised the Fairmont party, and then said that they had found private photos allegedly proving they had had sex with people of the same sex.

Their heads were forcibly shaved, they were forced to have drug tests and anal exams, which is considered torture and sexual assault under human rights law.

Their pretrial detention has been renewed three times without them being present. They are detained in the same cell as the Fairmont rapists themselves.

“Egyptian authorities are sending a disturbing message that persons who voluntarily go to a police station to assist others may be arrested for their alleged sexual orientation,” says HRW.