Two men arrested in Egypt on suspicion of planning to hold a gay concert have been released by police.
The men were arrested at a warehouse on Saturday morning (10 February) where the alleged concert was taking place. They were detained on suspicion of ‘spreading debauchery’.
Police raided the warehouse in the Giza Governorate, south of Cairo, after receiving a tip off.
A security guard at the warehouse and the man renting the space – a student – were arrested. Police also seized equipment that was for the concert.
But a prosecutor on Monday morning released of the men, citing a lack of evidence over their alleged crimes, according to a report in Egypt Independent.
Things are getting worse in Egypt
Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, but in September last year authorities began an ongoing crackdown on the LGBTI community.
The crackdown started after some people waved rainbow flags at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo. The Lebanese band has a gay lead singer and are very vocal about LGBTI and women’s rights.
More than 60 people were arrested on charges including; ‘debauchery’, ‘inciting sexual deviancy’ and ‘joining an outlawed group’. Amnesty International reported that some of the men received anal probe torture while in custody.
Some of the men were sentenced to jail with terms ranging from 12 months to six years.
A few weeks after the mass arrests began, the Egyptian government banned any positive representation of LGBTI people in the media.
Gay hook-up Grindr introduced increased security measures in Egypt, Iran and Lebanon to help protect men from authorities. Grindr made the decision after it was revealed Egyptian authorities were using the app to lure gay men.
Only last month police raided a private party and threw nine men into jail in the city of Alexandria on charges of ‘debauchery’.