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Legal Unit Annual Activities Report for 2023

This report, produced by the Legal Unit of Cairo 52 Legal Research Institute, presents an overview
of the unit’s activities in 2023. The report is divided into three sections, each focusing on a critical
department: Legal Aid, Legal Consultation, and Strategic Litigation. The legal unit aims to provide
high-quality legal services to improve the human rights situation for individuals facing restrictions on
their sexual and bodily freedoms, with a specific focus on LGBTQ+ people and sex workers. The report
highlights the following key findings:

  1. In 2023, the legal unit assisted a total of 56 individuals across its various departments. Of these,
    20 received legal representation in courts, 34 received legal consultation, and two were involved
    in strategic litigation.
  2. Among the 20 individuals who received legal representation in courts, 50% were acquitted, 15%
    received suspended sentences, 25% had their sentences reduced on appeal, and 10% are still
    awaiting their appeal.
  3. All 20 individuals were arrested through digital means, highlighting the increasing importance of
    digital evidence in legal cases. Technical reports utilizing advanced technology, such as facial
    recognition and metadata analysis, were submitted to examine the evidence.
  4. New interpretations have emerged that explicitly criminalize homosexuality under the Cybercrime
    Law 175/2018, in contrast to the de facto situation under the Anti-Sex Work Law 10/1961.
  5. Legal consultations were provided on various important topics, including legal gender recognition
    for transgender individuals, addressing issues related to Blackmail, navigating the complexities
    of seeking asylum within Egypt and abroad, and addressing healthcare concerns specific to
    intersex individuals.
  6. Limited access to justice remains a challenge for queer individuals who are victims of gang violence
    and Blackmail. Many beneficiaries who approached us were hesitant to pursue legal action
    due to the potential risks of prosecution by authorities if their sexual orientation or gender identity
    were revealed when filing criminal complaints against their abusers.
  7. In two cases, transnational aggression was observed when the families of two cisgender queer
    women, who had fled Egypt to escape family violence and seek asylum abroad, were traced with
    the assistance of Egyptian embassies in the respective countries where the women had sought
    refuge. We were able to provide legal protection to one of the women, as she was residing in a
    Western European country. Unfortunately, we were unable to assist the second woman, as she
    was in a neighbouring Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) country.
  8. Our strategic litigation efforts have expanded to include transgender rights. We filed the first petition on the right to health in Egypt. We also provided technical assistance to an activist’s lawyer
    in Tunisia who applied for legal gender recognition through the Tunisian Judiciary.


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