Wednesday, June 7, 2023
HomeLatest NewsLGBTQ+ people in Egypt 'terrified' after police ‘use apps for arrests'

LGBTQ+ people in Egypt ‘terrified’ after police ‘use apps for arrests’

A potential “150” LGBTQ+ people have been arrested in recent days, a gay Egyptian man claimed (Image: Grindr/Getty)

Fear and unease shook Egypt’s LGTBQ+ community this week after police arrested dozens of queer men using dating app Grindr.

How this works has long been known Undercover cops use aliases to roam dating apps to catch and arrest gay men In Egypt.

But on Monday, Grindr sent out a nationwide warning that officers are now using real people’s Grindr profiles after arresting them to conduct covert operations.

Reported understands activists on the ground say at least 35 have been arrested by police in the last five days – although that number is likely to be far higher.

The Grindr warning read: “We have been warned that Egyptian police are actively arresting gay, bi and trans people on digital platforms.

“They have even used fake accounts and also taken over accounts from real community members who have already been arrested and had their phones stolen.

The pop-up message flashed on phone screens on Monday (Image: Grindr)

“Please use extra caution both online and offline, even with accounts that may have appeared legitimate in the past.”

Among those who received the alert was Karim (not his real name), 21, a gay man living in northeastern Egypt.

He wasn’t surprised by the pop-up — he even knew it was coming.

“We found out three days before the news that we all received a voice memo from a friend in another city telling us to be careful as 28 gay men were arrested by police via the app and forced to give their calling friends to come the police can collect as many as possible,” Karim claimed.

One of his friends was found dead just two months ago.

“We were all scared but didn’t delete the app out of curiosity,” he added, “until we got the message.

“I wasn’t surprised when I got the message on the app. I was just surprised it was so serious that the app itself warns us we were all scared.”

It appears another crackdown on Egypt’s LGBTQ+ community is underway (Image: Getty Images North America)

“When a person is arrested they take 10 others with them because the police take the phones and open them and look in and then see who the person was talking to and where they are meeting,” he added.

He said some of his friends estimate the number of arrests could easily be in the triple digits. “150,” Karim said.

As gay, bisexual, and transgender Grindr users languish in jail cells, Karim fears what will become of him and his friends if this crackdown continues.

The warning signs are already there. His friends have seen people’s Grindr profiles and social media accounts become “ghosts” in recent days – he fears the worst.

The LGBTQ+ community in Egypt is tight-knit, Karim said. Apps like Grindr are invaluable ways to meet other queer people in a country where 95% of people consider gay to be unacceptable, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

“Me and my circle are very careful who we meet,” Karim said. “We have her in touch on all his social networks and we make sure he is known by other friends.”

In countries where the legal rights of queer people are shaky — or non-existent — Grindr introduced new security features in 2019, such as: B. endless messages, temporary photos and using a discreet app icon.

Egyptian police use Grindr dummy accounts to lure out queer people, according to users and activists (Image: Photothek)

Grindr said in a statement to Reported “The persecution of LGBTQ+ people everywhere is unacceptable.

“Grindr works with local groups in Egypt to ensure our users have up-to-date information on safety, and we urge international organizations and governments to demand justice and safety for Egypt’s LGBTQ community.

“Our hearts are with our church in Egypt.”

Homosexuality is not technically illegal in Egypt, but LGBTQ+ people face entrenched bigotry and are routinely prosecuted under a “debauchery law” dating back to the 1960s.

Some suspected LGBTQ+ people are picked up by police simply because of their appearance or behavior.

Egypt’s National Security Agency then puts detainees in “inhumane conditions” before illegally searching their phones, according to Human Rights Watch.

As queer people once again languish in prisons, Karim says he fears for his future and those of his friends (Image: Anadolu Agency)

It’s all part of an ongoing crackdown on human rights by President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who came to power in a military takeover nearly a decade ago.

Karim knows that well. “I don’t go out on the street when there are a lot of people there. I don’t sit in public places either,” he said.

When he meets other LGBTQ+ Egyptians, Karim says he meets them at home or in cafes and restaurants so late at night that “no one will be around”.

“I don’t wear anything that isn’t masculine,” he added. “When I’m wearing something feminine for a special private party, I cover myself all over with coats and shirts to hide what I’m actually wearing underneath.”

Karim even has to watch his voice, as he’s wary of anything that might draw the attention of a stealthy cop.

“I’m afraid to speak to anyone directly so they don’t notice my feminine voice, I don’t move my hands in public,” he said.

“I don’t go out in public. We travel around with cars and if there is no car we stay at home.”

Get in touch with our messaging team by emailing us at [email protected]

For more stories like this, Visit our news page.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments