The Queen Boat
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.