Human Rights Watch criticized Egypt Feb. 6 for eight arrests prompted by one man’s statement that he was HIV-positive, saying the detentions embodied “both ignorance and injustice.” The men, all arrested since October, were given HIV tests without their consent, and two were subjected to forensic anal tests to look for evidence of homosexual conduct, which HRW said amounted to torture. Three who tested HIV-positive are reportedly being held in hospital handcuffed to their beds and “only unchained for an hour each day.”
HRW said the arrests began after police stopped two men having an altercation on a Cairo street in October 2007. One told police he was HIV-positive, prompting an investigation against both for homosexual conduct. Police later arrested two others whose pictures or phone numbers were found on the first two, and a further four who took over the lease of an apartment where one of the previous detainees had lived. The first four remain in detention pending a decision on whether to charge them with homosexual conduct. The other four were tried and convicted of “habitual debauchery,” and sentenced to a year in prison. “The government should end arbitrary arrests based on HIV status and take steps to end prejudice and misinformation about HIV/AIDS,” HRW said. (Al-Arabiya, Feb. 6)
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