A peaceful demonstration was held outside the Egyptian Embassy in Ta’ Xbiex today in light of the recent death of Egyptian lesbian Sara Hegazi.
“On September 22, 2017, Sara Hegazi attended a concert for Mashrou’ Leila whose lead singer, Hamed Sinno, is openly gay. She was arrested along with a group of others for waving a rainbow flag in support of LGBT rights,” Moviment Graffitti said.
During the demonstration, which was organised by Moviment Graffitti and MGRM, photos of Hegazi were stuck to the embassy’s staircase, gate and facade as speakers spoke of the trauma she experienced.
“She recalled being jailed, beaten and abused by inmates for three months. She had claimed asylum and was living in Canada while going through PTSD from the prison torture experience she underwent in Egypt,” the activists continued.
On the 13th of June, it is believed she took her own life following the abuse.
Moviment Graffitti asked how Malta could continue to categorise Egypt, which has attempted to silence the LGBT+ community in their country, as safe.
“Malta ratified its Refugee Act in May 2020, recognising Egypt as a safe country. How can a country that imprisoned and tortured a person for three months because she waved a rainbow flag, be considered safe?”
Malta is widely considered to have some of the best LGBT+ rights in the world.
“We would have hoped that if Sara came to Malta she would have found a procedure that would have helped her instead of destroying her remaining energy for life,” they said.
ARC supported the demonstration, similarly pointing out Egypt’s track record.
“Egypt is considered a safe country by Malta and Egyptian LGBTIQ+ that request asylum in Malta is deported back,” they said as they recounted Sara’s harrowing experience.
A short letter attributed to Hegazi, written in Arabic, circulated on social media following her death in Toronto, Canada.
“To my siblings – I tried to survive and I failed, forgive me. To my friends – the experience was harsh and I am too weak to resist it, forgive me. To the world – you were cruel to a great extent, but I forgive,” she said before she is believed to have taken her own life.