TV Host Sentenced to Prison for Interviewing Gay Man

Photo Credits: Wikimedia

According to 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 95% of Egyptians believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society. Egyptian law does not explicitly criminalize homosexuality, but it does have several provisions that criminalize any behavior or the expression of any idea that is deemed to be immoral, scandalous or offensive to the teachings of a recognized religious leader.

Mohamad al-Gheiti, an Egyptian TV host, has been sentenced to one year in prison after interviewing a gay man on his talk show. As Independent reports, Mohamed al-Gheiti, who previously expressed his stance against homosexuality, invited the man to discuss his lifestyle on air in August 2018. The move led to the misdemeanors court in Giza charging him with promoting homosexuality, incitement to debauchery and immorality and contempt of religion. After the interview aired on LTC TV, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, Egypt’s top media body, suspended the channel for two weeks for “professional violations.”

Starting from September 23rd, 2017 and for a number of days, Egyptian TV hosts such as Ahmed Moussa and Mohamed al-Gheiti kept inciting against Egyptian LGBTIQ communities.  And also against those who raised rainbow flags during a concert in Cairo with the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, which was held to advocate LGBT rights in Egypt. Moreover, they urged the Egyptian state to take immediate actions against anyone who was involved in the incident of raising the rainbow flags during the concert.

The Egypt Independent reported that lawyer Samir Sabry filed the case with the attorney-general against tv host Gheiti, saying he had violated the basic rules, laws and religious constants. The prosecuting lawyer accused the TV host of suggesting there are financial gains of "practicing homosexuality," state-owned al-Ahram newspaper reports.

Samir Sabry is the lawyer who filed a case against Egyptian actress Rania Youssef because Ms Youssef's appearance at an awards ceremony "did not meet societal values, traditions and morals and therefore undermined the reputation of the festival and the reputation of Egyptian women in particular." She was wearing a lacy, black, dress that exposed most of her legs at the Cairo International Film Festival.

Mr al-Gheiti will be put under surveillance for one year after serving his one-year prison sentence. The verdict can be appealed, and it can be suspended if he pays bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds pending the outcome of the appeal. He was also fined 3,000 Egyptian pounds (£130).

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