Amnesty slams Egypt regime after suicide of gay activist

Amnesty slams Egypt regime after suicide of gay activist
2 min read
Egyptian LGBT activist Sara Hegazy, who took her own life in Canada where she lived in exile, had been "oppressed" by the Cairo government, Amnesty International said.
Hegazy was arrested in 2017 for raising the rainbow flag (Getty)

Egyptian LGBT activist Sara Hegazy, who took her own life in Canada where she lived in exile, had been "oppressed" by the Cairo government, Amnesty International said Monday.

The human rights group said in a tweet that Hegazy was "forced to seek exile in Canada after going through a very harsh experience in prison (in Egypt) in 2017".

Hegazy was arrested in 2017 for raising the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community during a concert in Egypt of Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila, whose lead singer is openly gay.

She was jailed for three months and, according to several LGBT activists, was tortured and sexually abused.

Hegazy was released on bail in January 2018 after an online campaign demanding she be set free.

That same year she sought asylum in Canada where her lifeless body was found at her home on Sunday, alongside a suicide note in which, according to Amnesty, she spoke of her detention.

"The experience was harsh and I am too weak to resist it. Forgive me," Amnesty quotes Hegazy as saying.

Hegazy's lawyer confirmed to AFP that the young woman had taken her own life.

"She committed suicide," attorney Amro Mohammed said.

Read more: Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam: A catastrophe for Egypt?

Her death has sparked indignation on social media, with people posting message of condolences, pictures of rainbow flags in tribute to Hegazy and blaming Egyptian authorities for her death.

"The Egyptian regime jailed and tortured Sara Hegazy for this picture," tweeted feminist author Mona Eltahawy, alongside a picture of Hegazy raising the rainbow flag at the Mashrou' Leila concert.

"The regime is homophobic and it knows Egyptian society is homophobic. Homophobia kills," she added.

Human Rights Watch's Sarah Leah Whitson joined the chorus of condemnation on Twitter, saying in a post: "I met #SaraHegazy recently in Canada.

"She was clearly in pain, traumatised by her torture, suffering, and separated from her country, but very much wanting to turn a new page. It was too much to bear. Lest anyone have any doubt, the government of #Egypt killed her."

Homosexuality is not expressly outlawed in Egypt, but gay people have previously been charged with debauchery in the deeply conservative Muslim society.

In 2017, authorities banned media outlets from "showing homosexuals or promoting their slogans".



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