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Egypt acquits 26 men held in 'gay bathhouse raid'

An Egyptian court on Monday acquitted 26 men arrested last month during a police raid on a Cairo public bathhouse.

The men were charged with performing indecent acts and "debauchery" – a term commonly used to describe homosexual acts.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the raid was instigated by a reporter for a pro-government television channel (Al-Qahira wal Nas), Mona Iraqi, who provided gleeful commentary as police pulled out the half-naked men from the bathhouse. Iraqi claimed that her investigation was meant to aid in stopping the spread of AIDS.

During their trial, the men endured public humiliation locked in a cage generally reserved for criminal cases. Their lawyers said that their highly publicized arrests led to loss of employment for many of the defendants. The men were not isolated while in prison and at least three showed signs of having been sexually assaulted, the Times reported.

"They destroyed our lives," said an unnamed defendant. "God rescued us."

In November, an Egyptian court sentenced eight men to three years in prison for appearing in a 1-minute video which claims to be from Egypt's first gay wedding. An appeals court in December reduced their sentences to one year in prison.
Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine
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