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21 Jan, 2019 15:17

Interview with gay man lands Egyptian TV presenter in jail despite anti-LGBT views

Interview with gay man lands Egyptian TV presenter in jail despite anti-LGBT views

An Egyptian TV host known for expressing views against LGBT issues in the past has instead been jailed for promoting the gay lifestyle. The sentence stems from a 2018 on-air interview with a gay man about his life.

Mohamed Al-Gheiti was sentenced to one year in prison and fined 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($176) by the Misdemeanors Court in Giza, after he was charged with a litany of crimes including the promotion of homosexuality, incitement to debauchery, and immorality and contempt of religion, the Egypt Independent reported on Sunday.

Once released, he will be placed under surveillance for another year.

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He was sentenced for a controversial interview last August, when Gheiti spoke to a gay man about his life, which included his job as a sex worker as well as his relationship with another man.

In order to prevent the interviewee from facing either legal or violent reprisals in the deeply religious country, his face was blurred.

After being aired on LTC TV, the channel came under immediate pressure from Egypt’s top media watchdog, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation.

It handed the channel a two-week suspension for “the appearance of homosexuals or promotion of their slogans.” But then the host himself was charged with violating basic rules, laws and religious constants by interviewing the man.

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The council banned the appearance of any LGBT people on any media outlet after a rainbow flag, a symbol of the movement, was waved at a music concert in Cairo in 2017. 

Homosexuality is a taboo subject for many socially conservative Egyptians, both from its Muslim and Coptic Christian communities.

However, it’s not the only issue to fall foul of the country’s morality police. In December 2017, pop singer Shyma was jailed for two years after appearing in a music video in which she suggestively ate a banana while in her underwear.

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