“Fairmont rape” case
Sex is not a crime – Rape is!
We cannot describe how much sadness and frustration we feel about the systematic campaign of disinformation on the “Fairmont rape” case, and the attempt by Egyptian authorities to obscure the facts and involve other topics in order to mislead the public on this heinous crime. Due to the deterioration of the state of freedom of expression in Egypt and the lack of professionalism in most Egyptian media, initial contradictory and inconsistent news circulated, and false news was published with the aim of inciting and misleading public opinion.
Last week, several witnesses in a gang rape case dating back to 2014, known as the "Fairmont Case", have been arrested and detained without being allowed to see their lawyer.
Earlier on, the National Council for Women announced the provision of protection and support to women victims and witnesses in this case. In this particular case, the victim submitted a complaint to the National Council for Women and met with complaint officials and legal aid providers before going with a number of witnesses to the Public Prosecution Office to submit an official report.
Everyone was surprised by the state and pro-media campaign of defamation targeting witnesses, when media sites affiliated with the Egyptian security services started publishing information on the case, saying that the Fairmont case "is not what it appears" and that it is in fact a retaliatory incident plotted by two people, one of them among the witnesses. The photos published along with the articles aimed at describing the party as a "group sex party" and derogatory terms against LGBT people and people living with HIV were being used, with the aim of portraying the party's attendees as a group of "deviants". Other websites published sexually explicit photos of the witnesses and other participants, which may have been obtained from the witnesses' personal phones after their arrest and were leaked by the security forces, thus damaging their privacy and identities. The private videos and photos were circulated on social media.
At the present time, the state is making desperate attempts to change the course of the case from a heinous crime of group rape to “deviant sexual practices”, and to turn witnesses into accused criminals.
LGBTIQ+ people and people living with HIV as a scapegoat
The Egyptian government notoriously has a proven track record of scapegoating homosexuals and people living with HIV. The Egyptian government has previously launched attacks on the Queen Boat case (2001), Bab Al Bahr (2014) case, the Rainbow flag (2017) case with the same goal.
Egyptian authorities also have a notorious frightening record of persecuting people on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, including the practice of sexual and verbal harassment and the conduct of forced anal examinations, and other forms of torture.
Also, the Egyptian authorities are taking advantage of the general ignorance and unjustified fear of HIV - due to lack of awareness and lack of correct information - to create societal fear and broadcast hate speech towards people living with HIV in an irresponsible and despicable way.
Anal examinations and forced physical abuse
The government subjected witnesses in the case to forced anal examinations, which are illegitimate and discredited tests used to determine and assess the sexual orientation or behavior of the victim. Anal examinations were proven to lack medical credibility and were internationally condemned and classified as a human rights violation and a form of physical and psychological torture. Anal examinations are legal rape, and they must be stopped immediately.
Forced anal examinations are based on discredited evidence inherited from the 19th century, and involve medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other tools, into the anus to determine whether a person has had an anal sexual relationship, which are used as "incriminating evidence" to be used in prosecutions.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment stated that these examinations "violate privacy and are degrading," "have no medical value," and amount to "torture or ill-treatment." The International Group of Forensic Experts describes it as a "form of sexual assault and rape."
Therefore, we affirm that anal examinations and forced physical abuse violate freedoms and privacy, and that their primary goal is to subject individuals to profound humiliation, as well as clearly violating the Egyptian government's human rights obligations.
The Law of “Advertising” and “Incitement” to Immorality:
Egypt has been using this law since 2001 to trap homosexuals trying to meet other gay people over the Internet. Several laws are used on expression and behavior - some of which refer to previous laws developed in the colonial era,
This article is an essential tool to violate the privacy of individuals in Egypt. It is often used to justify insulting individuals and subjecting them to humiliating physical examinations. Recently, the Public Prosecutor used the same law against the Tik Tok girls for allegedly inciting immorality and debauchery.
In light of the above, we therefore demand to the Egyptian authorities the following:
- The Public Prosecution must issue a prompt clarification regarding the legal position of all witnesses and the victims in the case, indicating the number of persons arrested and clarifying the prosecution’s position regarding what has been published in many newspapers.
- We hold the Egyptian government responsible for the psychological and physical integrity of the testimonies arrested in connection with the Fairmont case, and of those who were not proven to have been involved in the main rape case.
- We demand once again the Egyptian government to end forced physical examinations and recognize that the ban on torture applies to everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the witnesses and their friends, and anyone whose involvement in the heinous rape incident was not proven.
- We demand the end of the arrest of individuals based on their real or supposed sexual orientation.
Furthermore, we call on Egyptian media organizations to respect the values of journalistic professionalism while covering the issue and to refrain from broadcasting hate speech and derogatory terms against Egyptian citizens, and to refrain from making room for sources that deliberately spread fear, hatred, and defamation of individuals.