US News and World Report quotes Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Amy Hawthorne on Egypt’s crackdown on LGBT activists during the upcoming economic development conference:
There is much speculation as to what is driving the crackdown, says Amy Hawthorne, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Some say it’s a top-down effort by current President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to shore up political support and rebut allegations that his government is too secular.
“Others think it’s elements inside the Interior Ministry or other security forces that really want to go after particular segments of society for other reasons,” she says.
Hawthorne notes the abuses extend much wider than the LGBT community, with Islamists and affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, journalists, and political protesters also targeted. A report released by The Arabic Network For Human Rights Information estimates that 42,000 people were detained during the last year and a half for political reasons.