The Queen Boat

Egypt

In 2001, the police forces were on the Corniche El-Nil road, heading towards the Queen Boat together with national security officers in armoured security vehicles and a number of informants. They entered the boat and arrested 52 people who were on board the Nile boat, the ‘Queen Boat’ on charges of homosexuality and ‘immersing in immorality’. The incident caused considerable confusion at the time, and the trial sessions were followed-up very closely by the state security, media outlets and the public as well as national and international human rights institutions and associations.

After two years of deliberation, 23 people received jail sentences ranging from 1 to 5 years. There is no particular reference in the Egyptian law to punishment against homosexuals, who are prosecuted under the ‘prostitution’ law and on charges of ‘immorality’ as per Article 9 of the Anti-Prostitution Act.

The LGBT community in Egypt have recently turned to social media where the police may not be watching closely to organize gatherings and meetings. They also began to gradually avoid going to the same cafes that they had been visiting for years, knowing for certain they were being watched by the security. The community created a Facebook page under the name ‘Gays in Egypt’. As for those who were arrested on Queen Boat, they had to undergo an ‘anal test’. News leaks revealed that they were tortured before the trial, which exposed them to degrading and cruel procedures that involve defaming and tarnishing their image in the society, which later made some think of committing suicide or emigrating outside of Egypt while others deserted their families and children as a result of the defamation and scandals they were subjected to.

Queen Boat detainees being led to the courtroom, November 14, 2001. (Norbert Schiller)
Queen Boat detainees being led to the courtroom, Norbert Schiller, 14 November, 2001

Images

Raiding Queen Boat for obscene behavior, South Florida Gay News, 19 June 2015
Raiding Queen Boat for obscene behavior, South Florida Gay News, 19 June 2015
Defendants in the Queen Boat trial wait in court for the verdict to be read, Cairo, November 14, 2011: photo by Norbert Schiller
Defendants in the Queen Boat trial wait in court for the verdict to be read, Cairo, Norbert Schiller, 14 November 2011
اليوم الذي تم فيه القبض علي رواد المركب   صوره نشرت عبر موقع بي بي سي نيوز عربي بتاريخ 23 ابريل 2010 توضح حالة الضحايا
اليوم الذي تم فيه القبض علي رواد المركب, بي بي سي نيوز عربي, 23 ابريل 2010

Videos

Remote video URL
52 Gay men captured at Queen Boat Gay club and go on trial, Ishwara Ehab Aref, 8 November, 2011
Remote video URL

فيديو يروي فيه احاسيس مجتمع الميم ومن تم القبض عليهم, تحت اسم فيلم وثائقي (انا مثلي) بي بي سي, 1 مايو2010
Remote video URL
Storming of Queen Boat, Mada Masr, Nov 24, 2017