The authorities in Egypt have arrested more than 20 individuals over the last 4 days as they continue their crackdown on LGBT citizens.

According to Amnesty International, thirty-two men and one woman have been detained since a rainbow flag was displayed at a pop concert in the capital, Cairo, last month. It has also been reported that anal examinations have been carried out on 5 of the individuals who have been arrested by the Egyptian authorities.

Despite not technically being illegal in Egypt, it is not uncommon for police to arrest LGBT citizens engaging in consensual acts on the ground of immorality or debauchery. The Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered the security services to crack down on homosexuality after somebody raised an LGBT flag at a concert played by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila. The lead singer in the band is openly gay.

One man who was arrested the day after the concert was last week sentenced to six years in prison for debauchery. A spokesperson for Amnesty added ‘Forced anal examinations are tantamount to torture – there is no scientific basis for such tests and they cannot be justified under any circumstances.’

‘The scale of the latest arrests highlights how dangerously entrenched homophobia is within the country. Instead of stepping up arrests and carrying out anal examinations, the authorities must urgently halt this ruthless crackdown and release all those arrested immediately and unconditionally.’