Cairo 52 is a research institute, that aims to restore the balance to the scale of justice by reproducing simplified legal materials and connecting those materials to the concept of basic human rights, as it was stated in national and international laws and as it is protected in the Egyptian constitution.
The institute will enable people access to know their full legal rights, as stated in the Egyptian Constitution and international law, without misleading or failing to fully state the facts to persons in the event that they appear before the law enforcers.
The institute was established by a group of people, who are passionate about human rights and as an attempt to break the chains that were imposed by the elites of the Egyptian society on all those who sought change in defiance of the policy of gagging the voices of change imposed by the Egyptian state, by its people and its government.
ElKarakhana: History of Sex Working in Modern Egypt between Legalization and Criminalization
A Litigation Guide on Crimes of Sex Working and Homosexuality (Prostitution and Debauchery)
Egypt only started criminalizing sex work or “Prostitution” as officially called in the early 50s. The Egyptian parliament passed law No 68/1951, which prescribed criminal sanctions for criminalized the entirety of the sex work industry. In 1959 Egypt (The United Arab Republic then) joined the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others and the government brought the domestic law in line with the requirements of the Convention in 1961 with the adoption of Law Nr. 10/1961 on Combating of Prostitution. The scope of this law – which is criminal in nature – covers all aspects of the sex working industry and beyond e.g. homosexuality and transsexualism in some cases. Individuals can be prosecuted for aiding, inciting, seducing and advertising of debauchery or prostitution, in addition to, owning a brothel, forced sex work and habitual debauchery or prostitution. In this chapter, we will cover some of the actions criminalized by this law, in addition to the criminalization scope under Article 178 of the Penal Code. It is important to note that criminal crimes always consist of two core elements; actus reus and means rea, and whilst actus reus is changeable among different crimes, mens rea is almost always have the same elements to be fulfilled for the crimes under review in his book.
The Legal and Media Obsravtory of Sex Work Crimes in Egypt
It is difficult to determine the number of individuals arrested annually, as the Ministry of Interior rarely publishes reports on the types and numbers of arrests it carries out. In 2014, officials from the Ministry of Interior made a rare statement about the number of vice cases from January to July, totaling 1,853. The officials also stated that there were about 45 thousand female sex workers registered in their records and 8,000 males, some of whom were sex workers and others third parties such as pimps. No reports or statements on this case have been published since that year. Therefore, the Cairo 52 Legal Research Center offers this report as a preliminary attempt to document the number of people arrested annually under vice cases.
This report also serves as the launch of a legal observatory to monitor cases related to sex work that is reported in the media, as monitoring them at the national level is challenging due to the multitude of laws and regulations that prosecute sex workers, starting with the Egyptian Penal Code’s provisions or what is known in the media as “obscene acts in public” up to the recently issued Law No. 175 of 2018 on combating cybercrimes, which targets social media platforms, especially Facebook and TikTok. This law not only persecutes sex work but also serves as a backdoor to oppress women and gender and sexual minorities. Not all those arrested under morality laws are sex workers; the Egyptian state expands the use of these laws to restrict the right to privacy and control what it considers moral and immoral.
Queer Not in the Army
Every year, many Queer people across Egypt are faced with a heavy burden; applying for the nation’s compulsory military service, and every year Queer people ask themselves and their friends how can they avoid this service. Egypt’s military law has provided for several conditions upon which a person can be exempted from doing military service and out of our belief that laws and bylaws should be accessible and understandable by the public, we have conducted this study to provide an overview of the legal conditions that may assist Queer people in Egypt to receive their military service exemptions.
For this study, we have conducted interviews with multiple people who managed to receive their military service exemption due to their gender identity, sexual orientation, or their status as a person living with HIV. Moreover, we have conducted an in-depth analysis of the country’s military law, as well as, any available bylaws that outline the conditions of military service exemptions
Sexually Guilty: Custom Morality and the Persecution of the LGBTQ Community in Egypt
The report investigates how the Egyptian State has used custom morality to justify interpreting the laws to prosecute LGBT+ people. Egypt does not possess any laws that criminalize LGBT+ identities but relies on several morality laws, such as laws related to sex work (10/1961), laws related to public decency (Article 269bis of the Penal Code), and laws related to cybercrime (Article 25 of law no 175/2018), the Egyptian State created a system based on a moral interpretation of those laws to facilitate its prosecution of LGBT+ people; this system operates as a chain, where the police, public prosecutor office, and the judiciary all do their part to ensure that the laws will be interpreted to mean criminalizing LGBT+ people.
The report showcases how this chain functions by outlining state agencies’ performance in LGBT+ cases. The first chapter examines four major LGBT+ cases from 2001 to 2018: The Queen Boat; The Boat Gay Marriage; Bab Al-Bahr; and The Rainbow Flag incident. The second chapter in-depth analyses how State agencies violate due process and constitutional protections to create their anti-LGBT+ chain of discrimination; this system primarily operates without legal grounds, mainly relying on moral bias and interpretation of state officials. The third chapter investigates the violations of the Rule of Law and Bodily integrity in these cases and how those violations violate not only national law but also Egypt’s international obligations. Also this chapter points out the failure of the international community to address this issue in Egypt, arguing that the geopolitical importance of Egypt prevents other states from enacting more human rights-oriented foreign policies. Finally, the report notes that the system and methods used by State agencies in this report apply to all those who deem immoral by the State, including LGBT+ people.