Amnesty and Express put spotlight on Egyptians

Today we here in the press office thought wed take our lead from the Daily Express. So like the Desmond title we are going to give Egyptians our attention.However, sadly for those gossip-lovers out there, were not talking about the Princess Diana inquest and the Egyptian owner of Harrods and Fulham FC, Mohammed Al Fayed.Instead our focus is on the crackdown against people living with HIV/AIDS in Egypt, which has received scandalously little coverage over here big thumbs up to UK Gay News for being one of the few exceptions.Tomorrow five men will face trial in Cairo accused of the habitual practice of debauchery, and yesterday, 117 NGOs yes you read that right, a massive 117 all joined forces to send a letter to the authorities, condemning the crackdown and the help they have got from a group of doctors. Amnesty, which has a long-running campaign to protect the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, was among them. You can view the press release here, and the full letter here.In recent months, Egyptian police have been rounding up individuals they suspect of being HIV-positive. Local doctors have then aided in the interrogation, forced detainees to take HIV tests against their will, and performed abusive anal examinations to prove they had had sex with other men. Hardly, the kind of trusting behaviour you would expect from the medical profession!The prosecutors arent being saintly either. Several men have told how they were beaten by police and guards while in detention, and one recalls how a prosecutor informed one of them that he had tested positive for HIV by saying: People like you should be burnt alive. You do not deserve to live.Then of course, we shouldnt be totally negative. On 25 February the Ministry of Health finally gave way to international pressure and agreed that it was inhumane to chain HIV-positive prisoners in hospitals to their beds!Hopefully, the issue of Egypts brutal treatment will get a bit more coverage after the trial tomorrow.

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