Mellanöstern och Nordafrika Tidningen
Published On: Wed, Jun 24th, 2020

“To the world – you were cruel, to a great extent, but I forgive.”

Egyptian LGBT activist Sara Hegazy has committed suicide.  She was found dead in her home in Canada where she had been living in exile since 2018. She was arrested, imprisoned and tortured in prison in Egypt for three months after flying a rainbow flag at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in 2017 in Cairo. Lead singer Hamed Sinno is openly gay and known for advocating for queer rights.

Hegazi was among a group of others who were arrested for waving a rainbow flag in support of LGBT rights. Her arrest coincided with Egypt’s zero-tolerance crackdown response by the public prosecutor to end public support for LGBT rights in the country.

She was charged with “promoting sexual deviancy and debauchery” and subsequently jailed for three months at Sayeda Zeinab police station where male agents incited inmates to beat, and to assault her verbally and sexually.

She wrote in an article published by Mada Masr on September 24, 2018 that she was arrested at home in front of her family, and that during the process the officer questioned her about her religion, why she removed her hijab, and whether she was a virgin or not.  The officer blindfolded her and took her by car to a location she did not know. She sat in a chair gagged with a cloth with her hands cuffed. She was subject to electric shock and she lost consciousness. She was also threatened that her mother would be harmed if she told anyone. Hegazy spent three months in prison before she was released on bail.

Sara eventually sought asylum in Canada because of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) she suffered from the diabolical mistreatment, humiliation and complete lack of human rights at the hands of her jailers.

Sara Hegazy’s suicide note

At only 30, she took her life on Sunday leaving a suicide note that read:

“To my siblings – I tried to find redemption and failed, forgive me,” Hegazy’s handwritten letter said. “To my friends – the experience [journey] was harsh and I am too weak to resist it, forgive me.

“To the world – you were cruel, to a great extent, but I forgive.”

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality, or blasphemy.

Those who are arrested are subjected to anal examinations to determine whether they have had gay sex, which rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say amount to torture.

After she raised a rainbow Pride flag at a concert in Egypt 2017 Sara was jailed and tortured.

Following the 2017 Cairo concert, the law was updated to crackdown on Egyptian LGBT individuals even though the updated law made no allusion to homosexuality. Rather, the update authorized police to infiltrate dating apps, chatrooms, and social media, to pretend to be gay men and women and entrap LGBT community members.

Activists paid tribute to Hegazy on social media, with some using the hashtag #RaiseTheFlagForSarah.

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