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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 23:23 GMT 00:23 UK
Egypt jails gay youth
suspects arriving in court
The trial of the other defendants is continuing
In a trial that has attracted international attention, an Egyptian court has sentenced a young man to three years in prison for debauchery.

The youth, reported to be 15 years old, was found guilty of "practising sexual immorality".

He is one of 52 men arrested in May during a raid on a floating nightclub on the Nile. Two of the main defendants are also facing charges of forming an extremist group and denigrating Islam.

The case has been criticised by human rights groups who said the men were subjected to examinations to see if they had engaged in homosexual acts.

Cairo at night
The men were arrested at a floating nightclub

Although homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, it is a major cultural and social taboo.

The young man was tried in a different court because of his age and will serve his sentence in a prison for young offenders, court officials said.

The trial of the other defendants, in the state security court where verdicts cannot be appealed, is expected to continue this week. All have pleaded not guilty.

Their names and some of their addresses have been published in Egyptian newspapers.

And defence lawyers say the press has already convicted them by publishing lurid and false accounts of gay orgies on board the boat, where most of the men were detained.

See also:

15 Aug 01 | Middle East
Anger over Egypt gay trial
15 Aug 01 | Middle East
'Extremist' gay trial resumes in Egypt
18 Jul 01 | Middle East
'Extremist' gay trial opens in Egypt
24 Jun 01 | Americas
Muslims step out at Gay Pride
08 Jun 01 | Middle East
Protest at Egypt 'gay detentions'
01 Apr 01 | Middle East
Dubai closes club after gay night
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