HIV Scare in Egypt: Gays Rounded Up, Called "Suspects"

Well, it seems Huckabee's suggestion to quarantine AIDS patients is being somewhat enacted in Egypt. While not specifically referred to in Egypt's legal code, homosexual acts can be punished under laws covering obscenity, prostitution, and habitual debauchery. With this authority, Egyptian police are targeting suspected homosexuals in a campaign to crack down on HIV.

The crackdown all started when two men were arrested in October of 2007 for being involved in a scuffle. One man confessed to being HIV-positive so the two were taken to the "public morality" police branch where they were beaten for refusing to sign statements and subjected to anal examinations to "prove" that they had engaged in homosexual conduct. Police found the numbers and photos of two more men in the suspects' wallets and arrested them as well. All four men remain in custody. Further actions have brought the total amount of HIV suspect arrests to 12.

Gasser Abdel-Razek of Human Rights Watch said, "These cases show Egyptian police acting on the dangerous belief that HIV is not a condition to be treated but a crime to be punished." According to Human Rights Watch, HIV-positive Egyptian males are detained, interrogated about other suspects, undergo physical abuse, chained to hospital beds, and forced to undergo virus related tests. Two of the four newest detainees have tested positive for HIV.

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