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Egypt sentences TV presenter to jail over gay interview

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A TV host has been sentenced to one year in prison by an Egyptian court for interviewing a gay man in 2018, a judicial source said on Sunday.

The presenter, Mohamed al-Gheiti, who had repeatedly said he was opposed to homosexuality, was found guilty of promoting this sexual orientation and insulting religion.

Additionally, the presenter was also sentenced to one year of surveillance after completing his jail sentence, and a fine of 3,000 Egyptian pounds (130 euros), added Samir Sabri, the plaintiff’s lawyer.

Mr. Gheiti can appeal the verdict, and be released on bail pending his new verdict, provided he pays 1,000 Egyptian pounds (50 euros), according to Mr. Sabri, without indicating whether Mr. Gheiti had made a decision to that effect.

In August 2018, the presenter had invited a gay man on his TV show on the private channel LTC TV and had debated with him the theme of homosexuality on air.

During the interview, the guest, whose face was blurred to remain anonymous, confided that he was a sex worker and talked about his relationship with another man.

After the broadcast of this interview, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, a state agency, suspended the channel for two weeks for “professional violations“.

According to the Council’s statement, LTC TV failed to comply with the council’s ban on “the presence of homosexuals or the promotion of their slogans” on television.

The council had introduced the ban after a rainbow flag – symbol of the LGBT community – was brandished at a concert in Cairo in 2017.

At the time, the authorities had launched a large-scale crackdown against people suspected of being homosexual, drawing criticism from human rights groups.

The Egyptian Penal Code does not explicitly prohibit homosexuality, but the courts use incriminations of “debauchery” or “prostitution” to condemn homosexuals.

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