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The overwhelming majority of those arrested are not involved in the flag case, however, and have simply been arrested over their perceived sexual orientation in the following days.
Police have raided homes, parties, and used online dating apps to lure gay men - a common tactic in Egypt - to arrest most of them, their lawyers say.
At a Cairo courthouse defendants stood in a cage, holding up newspapers and books to hide their faces to shield themselves from the stigma of homosexuality in Egyptian society.
Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife.
No Western government has publicly condemned or commented on this crackdown, but Egypt is facing criticism from the United States, a major ally, over its human rights record. Egypt has taken a leading role at the United Nations in opposing gay rights.
Washington denied Egypt .7 million in aid and delayed a further 5 million because it failed to make progress on human rights and democracy, U. It was one of 13 countries to vote last week against a U. resolution condemning the death penalty for having gay sex. It sent a letter last year on behalf of Muslim countries to the secretary-general that led to the exclusion of 22 gay and transgender rights groups from the U. General Assembly's High Level Meeting on Ending Aids.
The last comparable crackdown on homosexuals in Egypt was in 2001, when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat.Suspected gay male detainees are subject to forced anal exams to determine if they have had homosexual sex, a procedure human rights groups say amounts to torture.At least five such examinations have taken place, Amnesty International says.It led a dozen states in boycotting a session in January with the first U. Gay men and rights activists say the LGBT community has been facing an aggressive crackdown since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as military chief ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi.EIPR has documented 232 cases between October 2013 and March 2017 where people were arrested for allegedly being gay or transgender, Abd Elhameed said.
A 31-year-old gay man recounted how he was tied up and beaten at his Cairo flat last year by two men who threatened to kill him after meeting through the gay dating app Grindr.