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But Firas’ lawyer was able to appeal the conviction, overturning it six weeks later.Police kept him locked up for two weeks after that, refusing to allow visitors and even denying that he was in custody.Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Egypt, but the LGBTQ community has become a useful scapegoat for the el-Sisi regime, and the General Directorate for Protecting Public Morality is being used to jail and prosecute anyone perceived as committing a transgression.Even when the charges don’t stick, charges can be used as a pretense for public humiliation, weeks of imprisonment, or even deportation.“It becomes hard to discriminate what’s private and what’s public.” As a result, channels for private communications like dating apps Grindr and Hornet are particularly important here.And to different extents, both platforms feel that they have some responsibility for keeping their users safe.
After three weeks, he was convicted of crimes related to debauchery and sentenced to a year in prison.
Firas knew something was wrong when he saw the checkpoint.
He was meeting a man in Dokki’s Mesaha Square, a tree-lined park just across the Nile from Cairo, for what was supposed to be a romantic rendezvous.
The apps themselves have become both evidence of a crime and a means of resistance.
How an app is built can make a crucial difference in those cases.
“I froze as a human being for a while,” one Egyptian called Omar told me. There were so many horrific stories about people being imprisoned or blackmailed or put under some sort of pressure for their sexuality.