Mohamed El-Gheity, a well-known journalist in Egypt who has spoken out against homosexuality, has been sentenced to one year of hard labor for interviewing a gay man last year, a Cairo court ruled Sunday.
The Egyptian TV presenter was convicted of promoting debauchery and insulting religions during an episode that aired last August on private satellite channel LTC.
During the interview, El-Gheity’s guest, whose face was blurred, shared details about his life as a sex worker so other young Egyptians would not repeat his mistakes.
LTC was taken off air for two weeks immediately after the episode aired for violating a decree by the Supreme Council for Media Regulation that bans the appearance of gay people on media outlets.
Homosexuality is not explicitly criminalized in Egypt, however, the authorities have been increasingly cracking down on the LGBT community and persecuted under an anti-prostitution law.
In September and October 2017, over 70 people were arrested in one of the most aggressive crackdowns on the LGBT community after fans of Mashrou Leila, a Lebanese band with an openly-gay lead singer, waved a rainbow flag at a concert, reports ABC News.
The most recent case came about after lawyer Samir Sabry, a self-proclaimed morality defender who has filed numerous lawsuits against celebrities, filed a lawsuit against El-Gheity for his interview which took place in August 2018.
Last December, he sued actress Rania Youssef over a dress she wore at the Cairo International Film Festival.
In addition to the jail term and a $167 fine, the misdemeanors court also ordered El-Gheity to be put under surveillance for one year after serving his sentence.