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The trial of 52 suspected gay men on charges of immorality, which opened in Cairo on July 18, signaled an end to long years of discreet and quietly tolerated public activity by the Egyptian gay community.

Standing in a cage in a small, crowded courtroom, the defendants were testament to a deep political crisis faced by an insecure regime, a threatened gay community, a mediocre press and a shattered rights movement.

Hossam Bahgat, author of this article, was dismissed from his position at the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights two days after it was published.

EOHR's secretary-general has commented in the Egyptian press that he won't defend the 52 men arrested on the Queen Boat because he doesn't "like the subject of homosexuality." MERIP urges EOHR to respect and defend the rights of all people, in accordance with international standards and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The semi-official Egyptian media has always shown willingness to be used by the security services in their fight for publicity.