How Egyptian police use dating apps to find LGBT individuals
The taboo around homosexuality is quite strong in Egypt, and there have long been claims that authorities are looking for LGBT people online. Currently, BBC News has proof of how the police are doing this through social and dating apps.
The names of each victim have been changed.
I am aware of the rampant homophobia that penetrates every aspect of Egyptian society because I was born and raised.
Although there isn’t a specific legislation against homosexuality in Egypt.
A text exchange between an undercover cop and a user of the social networking and dating app WhosHere appears to show the cop pressuring the app user to meet up in person.
Dating apps are a common technique for LGBT people to meet possible mates because it is quite difficult for them to do so openly in public in Egypt. However, using the apps alone might lead to prosecution under Egypt’s laws against inciting public immorality or debauchery, regardless of your sexual orientation.
Not simply Egyptians are the target of this persecution. In one transcript, cops talk about finding a foreigner on the well-known gay dating app Grindr. We’ll name him Matt. In a subsequent chat with a police informant, Matt allegedly “confirmed his depravity, his desire to indulge in debauchery for free, and sent images of himself and his physique,” according to the transcript.
Laith went to meet him, but his companion was nowhere to be found. Instead, he encountered law enforcement, who took him into custody and placed him in a vice squad cell.
He informed me, showing me the scar, that one police officer accidentally stubbed a cigarette out on his arm.
It was the only time in my life that I attempted suicide, according to Laith.
He claims that after that, cops created a false profile.