Human Rights Watch: Arrests, Trials of HIV-Positive Men in Egypt Reflect Ignorance, Injustice
February 6, 2008
Today, Human Rights Watch called on Egyptian authorities to stop criminalizing AIDS. New York-based HRW also urged the country to overturn the convictions of four men sentenced for habitual practices of debauchery, a term used for consensual homosexual relations, and to release four others held on pending charges.
Egypt threatens not just its international reputation but its own population if it responds to the HIV/AIDS epidemic with prison terms instead of prevention and care, said Scott Long, head of a gay rights program at HRW.
Last October, HRW said, police stopped two men arguing on a downtown street and arrested them after one man told officers he was HIV-positive. The two later said they were mistreated and beaten after refusing to sign pre-written confessions.
Soon, two more men whose photographs and telephone numbers were found on the first two detainees were arrested. All four remain in custody pending a prosecutors decision to proceed with charges. HRW said all the men were subjected to HIV tests without their consent.
Then, in November, police arrested four more men found living in the apartment of one of the first four detainees. These men were charged with homosexual conduct and also tested for HIV without their consent. These four men were convicted, without evidence, and sentenced to one-year prison terms.
HIV tests forcibly taken without consent, ill-treatment in detention, trials driven by prejudice, and convictions without evidence all violate international law, said Long.
2.06.2008; Katarina Kratovac
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.