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Egypt sentences TV host to year in jail over gay interview

Mohamed al-Gheiti was accused of promoting homosexuality and contempt of religion
Appearance of homosexuals on any media outlet was banned after rainbow flag was waved during Cairo concert in 2017 (AFP/file photo)

An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced a television host to one year in prison for interviewing a gay man last year, a judicial source said.

Mohamed al-Gheiti, who has expressed his stance against homosexuality on several occasions, was accused of promoting homosexuality and contempt of religion, AFP said.

The misdemeanours court in Giza also fined him 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($147) and ordered he be put under surveillance for one year after serving his sentence, said Samir Sabri, the lawyer who brought the case against him.

The verdict can be appealed, and it can be suspended if Gheiti pays bail of 1,000 pounds pending the outcome of the appeal, said Sabri.

In August 2018, Gheiti hosted a gay man on his talk show on the private LTC TV station and discussed homosexuality on air.

During the interview, the gay man, whose face was blurred to hide his identity, said he was a sex worker and openly talked about his relationship with another man.

After the interview was aired, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, Egypt's top media body, suspended the channel for two weeks for "professional violations".

In a statement at the time, the council said the LTC TV had violated its decision "banning the appearance of homosexuals or promotion of their slogans".

Egypt escalates crackdown on LGBT people after rainbow flag display
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The council banned the appearance of homosexuals on any outlet after a rainbow flag - symbolic of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community - was waved during a Cairo concert in 2017.

Egyptian authorities arrested at least 22 people after the concert as part of a campaign against LGBT people, a rights group said. 

Thirty-two men and one woman were detained after rainbow flags were displayed at a pop concert in Cairo, according to activists.

Anal examinations were reportedly carried out on five of those arrested, Amnesty International said.

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

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