According to CBS news, a Cairo court acquitted 26 men on Monday who had been accused of “debauchery” in a rare victory for Egypt’s gay community that has recently faced an increasingly oppressive police crackdown.
The defendants had faced between 1-9 years in prison on varying degrees of “debauchery” — the most common Egyptian legal term used in cases against men accused of homosexuality.
Though homosexuality is not technically illegal in Egypt, the police and courts have a history of persecuting the gay community in the socially-conservative country. Monday’s ruling surprised many observers.
“It’s unprecedented,” said longtime human rights activist Scott Long. “This just doesn’t happen.”