EGYPT: Anti-Gay Journalist Mona Iraqi Sentenced To Prison Over “Defamatory” Bathhouse Raid Story

Ahram Online reports:

A Cairo court ruled on Thursday a six month jail sentence for controversial television presenter Mona Iraqi for defaming and spreading lies about a number of men in the central Cairo bathhouse incident. The sentence follows a defamation case filed by the mens’ defence team. Iraqi was also ordered to pay bail of LE1,000 and a fine of LE10,000. Iraqi still has the right to appeal against the ruling.

The general prosecution accused Iraqi of defaming a number of men who were charged with “debauchery” after a police raid on a central Cairo bathhouse, and broadcasting false news on Al-Qahera Wal Nas TV channel. Twenty-six men were arrested and charged with debauchery โ€” a term often used in Egyptian law to refer to homosexual conduct โ€” along with other related charges. Iraqi was photographed during the raid taking pictures of the men being dragged semi-naked out of the bathhouse by police, a scene that caused widespread controversy.

In January 2015 all 26 men arrested in the raid were acquitted after the court ruled that there was no evidence that they had committed homosexual acts. By then one of the men had attempted to burn himself to death.

  • oikos
    • Acronym Jim

      I’m sooo waiting to see Sister Linebacker get hers. Now that Cersei is free and The Mountain is back, maybe it’ll come to pass next season.

      But then again, knowing the way these revenge fantasies play out, I’ll probably end up horrified and sympathetic when her end eventually comes. After all, HBO made me feel pity for Cersei last season and I didn’t think that could ever happen.

      Fortunately I was still able to get my schadenfreude on for Joffrey when his time came.

      • oikos

        Cersei will have her revenge for the mess she created.

  • Kind of a mixed blessing. It’s good she’s facing justice, tragic that Egyptian laws allow for these kind of arrests. But then who am I kidding? Toronto police were still raiding bathhouses in the late 80s.

    • Reality.Bites

      I’m certainly not defending the raids or the bawdy house laws they were conducted under, but even then, it was about a commercial establishment for the purpose of sex, not gay sex per se. Straight sex clubs were sometimes targeted as well. It was a couple of late 1990s raids on straight sex clubs that finally led to the laws being rewritten by the Supreme Court in 2005.

      http://www.dailyxtra.com/toronto/news-and-ideas/news/supreme-court-rules-in-favour-sex-clubs-11756

      • But I think it’s pretty telling that it took straight clubs to force the issue and not until the late 1990s. Most of the early key raids were bathhouses and they were very much targeting gay men, before and after AIDS.

        • Reality.Bites

          There was no chance of winning a case before sexual orientation was established by the Supreme Court as protected under the Charter, which didn’t happen till 1995.

          In the case of the Toronto raids in 1981, one bathhouse owner was found guilty, but was granted an absolute discharge. Charges against the owners of the other bathhouses were dropped. You can’t appeal a case to the Supreme Court when you win.

    • Joe knows who I am.

      Lesbians have bathhouses?

      • Gigi

        It was a lesbian night at a local bathhouse.

      • Yes. Sort of.See my answer below.

      • douglas

        The lesbian bathhouse they raided in 2009 (which was just an occasional night at one of the gay bathouses) now is for straight people.

    • Mark McGovern

      There are lesbian bathhouses?

      • In this case, it was a women’s night in a men’s bathhouse. As permanent spaces? Probably not too many I’d guess.

      • Having spent the majority of my adult life in Seattle, I’m happy to report the city boasts the longest running Lesbian bar in the nation (Wildrose) and here’s a quote from Queer Girl City Guide (and just in case some of you are wondering, I’m male): The crowd at the Rose is as diverse as Seattle lesbians are, and ….. -Beneath our lesbian bar lies Hothouse Spa, a cozy, affordable women’s bathhouse.

        • Mark McGovern

          Oh cool. Thanks for educating me and glad to hear it. Have 2 lesbian sisters, but they are small town folks.

          • Oh, sure–for some complicated reasons (one of which is because I’ve been mentoring a young transman (hey–we hit the USA Today Bestsellers list for our “Roots & Fangs” Highland Shifters Paranormal Romance (we usually do werewolves, but I wanted to do something different and used an Irish Pooka as a main character. Since the Pooka (Shakespeare called the being “Puck” and others used the name “Robin Goodfellow”) can assume any shape I figured shifting genders would be a breeze and it let me do 3 scenes where while in female form he seduces a male, then shows off her shape-shifting ability by turning into various animals and a male. The one she just had sex with asks her to go back to her male form so he can get boned by the Pooka, and later on after they have an angry break up, as rebound sex he switches back to female and has sex with a woman.

            I’m good, but even I haven’t had that range of sexual experience, so I asked Ripley (the young transman to help with the sex scenes since he’s actually had the experience of having sex as a woman and then as a man, with both males and females. He’s also done his own web comic (now available as a graphic novel via Prism Comics), inspired by his own experience with testosterone injections for his transition. He put together the idea that undergoing a rapid puberty where you suddenly start growing body hair and becoming aggressive was a lot like becoming a werewolf. Thus began the saga of the first Transman Werewolf.

            Because of my professional relationship with Ripley (I have a rule to never sleep with anyone young enough for me to have sired, although in full disclosure I used to date a transman when I lived in SF and Transfolk hadn’t gotten as much media attention as these days) and because one my best friends only dates guys in their early 20s, I have an unusually wide range of ages in my social circle. Through the overlap of my friend’s friends and Ripley, I end up spending a lot of time with lesbians under 30 and have been out several times to lesbian and “gender queer” events, so I end up knowing a lot more about lesbian options in Seattle than most people based in Arizona (I get back to Seattle a few times a year and plan on moving back this spring). I had a laugh the last time I was out with my “chicken hawk” friend and one of our mutual lesbian companions in a bar called “Pony.” A 20something guy came up to me and introduced himself, did a couple of lines of small talk and then asked if I were trans. In this case he assumed I was a Male to Female. As an American Indian I have little body hair and I wear my hair in braids, so I’m used to having people mistake my gender but not often mistaking me for a transman or transwoman. When I told him I wasn’t he didn’t hang around. When my friend returned from the restroom I told her what had happened and she said, “Oh, yeah–he asked the same thing of me. He’s a trans-chaser.” I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Ever since I’ve been wondering if being mistaken for trans might increase my dating pool, but I don’t see a long term future with someone who has a kink I don’t actually fit. Ah, me, life in the 21st century.

          • Mark McGovern

            Without a doubt, the most detailed and interesting responses to a comment I have ever received.

          • It’s a holdover of my being a professional writer used to being paid by the word ๐Ÿ™‚

  • scottrose

    Understand that had the court found any evidence that the defendants engaged in “homosexual acts,” the court would have given the defendants harsh punishments.

  • zhera

    I’m surprised that the court could/would do this. I thought Egypt was so homophobic that all accusations of ‘debauchery’ would lead to prison for the accused.

    Good on you, Egypt!

    • Capritaur

      Let’s save the pat on Egypt’s back for when accusation of homosexuality is of no consequence to either the accuser or the accused.

      • zhera

        Oh, I agree. But maybe this is a tiny step?

        • Capritaur

          I wouldn’t say being jailed for accusing someone of homosexuality is a step forward in any way. Don’t get me wrong, this woman is despicable, and she reported the story knowing fully what could be wrought onto these men’s lives. But as unnoteworthy as her story should be, it was likely not baseless, and she probably pissed off some wrong people.

          • Gene

            Zhera, I want to find a silver lining here like you do..and I am GLAD she will see the inside of a jail cell (baring winning an appeal), but, having been to Egypt and knowing straight (bigoted) and gay (terrified) Egyptians, I am sad to say that I think Capritaur is almost certainly right here. She probably stepped on toes, and, its sad that Egyptian society is so backward, but, it is

          • Nic Peterson

            SHE pissed off some wrong people. This is only one layer of an onion the size of Saturn. (only this onion has pyramids that are also grain silos)

    • another_steve

      Someone please explain this to me: Why is this a victory for us?

      As I understand it, she was convicted of accusing men of “abominations” when, in fact, she couldn’t prove it. Presumably, were she able to prove it, she would have gone free.

      This is a “victory” for the sane and civil world?

      • zhera

        My point was about how the court demanded actual proof, and how Iraqi is punished for putting innocent people in this situation.

        There is of course a larger problem, criminalization of homosexuality. No one here is denying that.

        • another_steve

          Not to belabor the point… but “actual proof”? “Innocent people”?

          It’s good that the court demanded actual proof of abominations committed? Lol.

          Whatever.

          My major challenge today is getting my pee pee to work properly so I don’t piss all over the bathroom floor.

          • zhera

            Then I suggest you focus on that and stop nitpicking my comments. It’s like you’re trying to make me look like someone who agrees with the Egyptian criminalization of homosexuality when you know perfectly well that I don’t.

  • JT

    Perhaps she can make the most of it and find new friends in prison.

    • Bluto

      Surely the rats in Cairo have higher standards than her.
      I hope she experiences everything she wished upon her victims. Karma, baby.

  • bkmn

    She was so happy to be a political pawn. Good to see she is getting punished for her lack of journalistic integrity.

    • Frostbite

      “Good to see she is getting punished for her lack of journalistic integrity.” FIFY

  • vorpal

    Serves her right, but given the far reaching consequences that this has likely had in many of the lives of those accused, this still seems like pretty small peanuts for such grossly inappropriate and irresponsible witch-hunt journalism.

    • David Walker

      Perhaps “US journalism” inspired her.

      • “Journalism” needs more scare quotes.

        • Snarkaholic

          And the word Yellow in front of it.

      • bambinoitaliano

        It’s precisely that. Many of these countries are so anti US yet, they were so heavily influence by the American homophobic attitude. Some of their cultures would not have issues with physical closeness between men but are now being seen as homosexual behaviour.

      • Joe knows who I am.

        Perhaps it’s what we should be doing to US “journalists” too.

  • Circle Thomas

    I wouldn’t wish an Egyptian prison on anyone, even her.

    • oikos

      She deserves worse for what she did to those men.

    • William

      I can think of a few people.

    • Jmdintpa

      well then ill make that wish for you… she deserves it.

    • Those men were acquitted but I’m sure they spent time in prison while waiting. Kind of hard to pity her.

      • oikos

        They were most likely beaten and tortured for being thought gay.

  • Bj Lincoln

    Good! She was looking to create a story by making an anti-gay move that fell through. I feel for all the men who had to suffer through this ordeal because she wanted a story. Sad that the pressure was so bad that a man tried to kill himself. I hope she thinks about the damage she caused. 6 months in an Egyptian jail should be enough.

  • BudClark

    Justice? In EGYPT??

    YAY!!!

  • medaka

    Good.

  • Reality Check

    Mona Iraqi sounds like a drag queen’s name

    • bobbyjoe

      With her sister queen, Daiquiri Iraqi.

  • bambinoitaliano

    The Anne Coulter of Egypt.

    • GanymedeRenard

      Wow! Is she really THAT vile?

      • bambinoitaliano

        The trait of that whroriness is there. For money and fame what ever level she can achieve in Egypt.

        • GanymedeRenard

          I would normally tend to agree, but I think that comparing this shitty “journalist” with the empress of all harpies is maybe a bit too much, no?

          • bambinoitaliano

            She was using homophobia for personal gain in a homophobic country. The damage is not just towards those who were wrongly “accuse”, it further perpetuate the shame of being caught as one. If that’s not vile I do not know what is. I doubt Egypt will achieve the kind of freedom of speech like the US. Hence the limited scope of evilness she can do in that country. In that context she is the mini me of Anne Coulter.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think what she did was vile (on the contrary!).

            What I meant to say, unsuccessfully, was that Coulter standard is pretty high. She’s managed to vocally express her hate towards virtually every one who’s not white, Christian, straight, and rich. The only difference between she and Trump is to be found between their legs.

            Otherwise, I too think what Iraqi did was extremely vile and despicable.

  • Blake Jordan

    Did her husband leave her for a younger man?

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Good. She will go to prison and come out gay.
    Then she can do a story on herself.

    • GanymedeRenard

      I thought the same thing! Kudos!

  • Baltimatt

    An Egyptian pound is worth about 12ยข.

    • LonelyLiberal

      So it’s more like an Egyptian ounce.

  • My ex-BF called Mona Iraqi out for the idiot liar she was back when JMG first reported this story.

    The Egyptian economy went to hell over the last few years as Western tourism dollars dried up. They were looking to blame everyone but the Islamic fundies. My ex-BF lives there, but has been afraid to contact me recently, he’s looking for a new messaging platform. Whats app, viber and other messaging are being thoroughly scrutinized much more thoroughly than they used to be. I wish I knew the deal.

    • Baltimatt

      I’ve seen reports that gays have it worse under Al-Sisi than they did under the Mulsim Brotherhood.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/27/egypt-targets-gays.html

      • That article is horrifying. It explains a lot. I hope they aren’t trolling JMG. Going to edit my original comment

    • BobSF_94117

      Egypt lost a president to Islamic fundies and has imprisoned, tortured, and killed hundreds of them. The “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood, though elected to govt a few years ago, utterly failed and has been removed from power in a coup, its leaders facing prison. The situation in Egypt is still a mess, but a lot of the country does blame Islamic fundies.

      • Agree, but “criticizing Islam” is still a crime, so the criticism of the fundies is underground. The MBs falling out of favor didn’t change life for gays at all, I assure you.

        Egypt is at war with itself, and Da’esh is getting more bold and powerful.

    • papatonyinsd

      Easy and utterly secure way to talk:
      Use Apple iPhones, and communicate using your Apple ID and Wifi. This is completely encrypted, end-to-end, and cannot be spied upon. I was mentoring a young man who was stationed in Afghanistan, and we would text-chat for hours every day. FaceTime for video-or-audio-chatting (requires good bandwidth) is also encrypted.
      In case you hadn’t picked it up from the news, Apple is being hammered hard for this unbreakable method of communication. Governments are screaming for a “back door” to spy upon people. Apple is standing firm.

      • Android user here. I got an iphone as a second phone a few weeks ago on his advice. But something’s up.

        I’ve always followed his lead on what is safe, rather than tell him what to do. He’s also more tech savvy than I am. His last message was from a proxy server in Russia. That was part of the reason we split up in terms of planning a life together….and now we’re “friends”. I hated feeling like I was putting his life in danger when we’d chat.

  • Hold tight, Mona, your rainbow house is on it’s way. Just stand on the big X with these ruby-colored shoes.

  • It’s been a fascinating, infuriating case from the beginning. While Egypt is and remains reflexively homophobic, the level of public outrage against Iraqi from the beginning has been remarkable. Egyptians may not like public homosexuality, but they also prize privacy (and the ability it affords to quietly break all sorts of rigid social conventions – all of which, believe me, are indeed regularly broken).

    Making it that much more interesting is the widespread rumor (supported by friends who might be in a position to know) that Iraqi is herself a lesbian. We’re not always our own best allies, and that’s as much true in Egypt as anywhere.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Thanks for the great post with the inside scoop!

  • Six months is certainly too short. Six YEARS would have been much more appropriate. She destroyed the lives of many men all for the glory of her news story. Hey Mona! Orange is the new black!

  • dcurlee

    I’m shocked but in a good way. Let the bitch see what it’s like from the inside

  • So sitll no change in legality though :/

  • Brian in Valdosta

    Such a welcome surprise.

  • TheManicMechanic

    Call me when the innumerable liars and grifters that espouse and preach hate for LGBTs start getting prison sentences in the Gool Ol’ U. S. of A.

  • kirtanloorii

    Remember: This is not a victory for the LGBT community. They were “protecting” men who were “wrongly” accused of being homosexual. If anything, it shows just how much more work Egypt has to do.

  • DisT

    A woman who defamed men by accusing them of being homosexuals and a group of Egyptian men that most likely bear hatred toward homosexuals; both got the short end of the stick.

  • EqualityForAll

    Men accused of something “illegal” by a woman – in Egypt? Regardless of the charges – DISMISSED!

  • James

    Good. Fuck you, Mona.

  • 2karmanot

    Hope she shares a cell with Big Tongue Fatima Ala Ackbar.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    How does that expression go? What goes around comes around!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGqezGJmtk8

  • GanymedeRenard

    And somehow Dr. Stabby is not happy – he probably thinks the pyramids are nowadays used as bathhouses.

  • Ogre Magi

    I HATE MUSLIMS