After recent mass LGBTQ arrests, Grindr sends warning to all its users in Egypt

March 23 (UPI) -- Grindr, the popular gay dating application, has sent an alert to all of its users in Egypt warning that police arrested dozens of its users over the weekend.

Patrick Lenihan, the company's vice president and head of communications, confirmed the alert Thursday in an emailed statement to UPI.


"Persecution of LGBTQ people anywhere is unacceptable," Lenihan said in the statement.

Lenihan added that Grindr is working with groups on the ground in Egypt to ensure that the users of the app have up-to-date information on how to stay safe.

"We are pushing international organizations and governments to demand justice and safety for the Egyptian LGBTQ community," Lenihan said. "Our hearts are with our community in Egypt."

The alert, which was first sent to Egyptian users on Monday, warned that police were "actively making arrests of gay, bi, and trans people" on digital platforms including Grindr.

"They are using fake accounts and have also taken over accounts from real community members who have already been arrested and had their phones taken," the alert reads.

"Please take extra caution both online and offline, including with accounts that may have seemed legitimate in the past."


Lenihan, in comments to NBC News, said the company decided to issue the warning after LGBTQ groups in Egypt warned the company of as many as 40 arrests this past weekend.

Article 19, an international advocacy group, noted in a 2018 fact sheet for members of the LGBTQ community that Egyptian law "remains vague" on the rights for LGBTQ people.

"The Egyptian Penal Code criminalizes homosexuality under the term 'habitual debauchery' in Article 9, paragraph (c) of Law 10/1961 for combating adultery and debauchery," the fact sheet reads.

"If charged under this law, a person can be imprisoned from six months to three years per charge and can be given a fine of 100 to 300 Egyptian pounds (about $10)."

The organization warned that the presence of an account on dating apps can be used as evidence in charging someone with promoting so-called debauchery.

Human Rights Watch, the international human rights watchdog group, also warned in 2020 that LGBTQ people who were arrested have been detained in "inhuman conditions" and systematically subjected to "ill-treatment including torture."

"Human Rights Watch documented cases of torture, including severe and repeated beatings and sexual violence, in police custody, often under the guise of forced anal exams or 'virginity tests,'" the organization said in its 2020 report.


"Police and prosecutors also inflicted verbal abuse, extracted forced confessions, and denied detainees access to legal counsel and medical care."

The news came after Uganda's parliament on Wednesday passed a law forbidding people from identifying as LGBTQ.

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