Sarah Hegazi

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Mural with Sarah Hegazi and the words "But I forgive" in Amman (meanwhile removed from the authorities)

Sarah Hegazi ( Arabic سارة حجازي, DMG Sāra Ḥiǧāzī ; * 1989 ; † June 13, 2020 in Toronto ), also spelled Hijazi, was an Egyptian LGBT activist who was arrested and tortured in custody in 2017 for holding up a rainbow flag at a concert . After she was released from prison and escaped to Canada, she committed suicide.


The studied software developer and openly lesbian Hegazi attended a concert by the Lebanese indie pop band Mashrou 'Leila in Cairo in 2017 , whose front man Hamed Sinno is openly gay . One photo shows Hegazi, who is believed to be sitting on someone's shoulders and smiling, holding up a rainbow flag. A few days after the concert, extensive police raids took place on the concert-goers, during which at least 75 people were arrested and sentenced to up to six years in prison for "debauchery". These raids were part of an effort to crush support for homosexuality in Egypt . Hegazi was the only woman arrested. She was taken to al-Qanatir women's prison north of Cairo. According to the company it suffered humiliating interviews, electric shock torture , abuse of detainees and incommunicado detention . According to the Lebanese non-governmental organization Afemena, she was physically and mentally ill-treated while in detention. After three months, she was released on bail of EGP 2,000 (109 euros).

Political opinions

Hegazi called herself a communist. The LGBT activist was a co-founder of the Bread and Freedom party in Egypt and was committed to human rights in Egypt, but also mobilized against the atrocities committed in Syria. In Canada she got involved in the Spring Socialist Network . Nine years after the revolution in Egypt in 2011 , Hegazi wrote, “The old regime will try everything, even the sacrifice of important icons of its regime, in order to remain in power or to regain that power,” described President al-Sisi as “the most oppressive and brutal dictator of our modern history ”and wrote,“ Revolutionaries are certain this is a class struggle ”. She went on to write in this article that "as a result of the incomplete revolution, most of us are now in the grave, in prison or in exile". About her time in the Egyptian prison, Hegazi wrote: “I was in prison for three months and they put me in a solitary cell, with no fresh air, no conversations, no people, so I developed a depression and couldn't look anyone in the face. “There is no political life, only the one voice of the military, of the regime. In an article for the news website Mada Masr in 2018, she wrote: “After my release, I was still afraid of everyone. A year after the Mashrou'-Leila concert, I haven't forgotten my enemies. I haven't forgotten the injustice that dug a black hole in the soul and made it bleed - a hole that doctors have not yet been able to heal. "


Commemoration ceremony in honor of Sarah Hegazi in Paris

After her release from prison, she lost her job as a software developer because of her resistance to the Sisi regime and was attacked by some family members. For fear of being arrested again, she decided months later to flee to Canada and seek political asylum there. However, she suffered from post- traumatic stress disorder and depression , which she described continued to get worse after her mother passed away. She committed suicide in her Toronto apartment on June 14, 2020.

After her death, a manuscript, allegedly drafted by her widespread in social media suicide note in Arabic in which she turns to her siblings, her friends and the world. She wrote: "To the world - you were very cruel, but I forgive." International media reported her death.

Hamed Sinno shared a homage on his Facebook profile that said: “لروحك الحرية”, meaning “freedom for your soul”. He continued: “Many people quickly point to mental illness and their depression. But mental illnesses do not exist in a vacuum. ”They are the result of structural violence that“ heteropatriarchal capitalism ”exerts on the body. The assumption that people in exile can escape structural discrimination is wrong, writes Sinno: “We spend the first part of our lives requesting air in our home countries and then just go to countries where we are promised air to find out that our lungs have been stolen. Continuing not to address the structural inequality that causes so much suffering is a crime. "

Online trolls and other commentators also reacted to Hegazi's death. Her name was associated with the Lot people on Twitter in Egypt , a reference to a passage from the Koran that deals with the punishment of homosexuals.

Canadian Spring magazine published an obituary for Hegazi in which Valerie Lannon wrote, “I remember her saying, 'I never felt as alive as I did during the revolution! In her honor and in order to fulfill our own meaning in life, it is our task to continue the fight for the revolution here, in Egypt and everywhere. "

The Egyptian-American feminist Mona Eltahawy wrote on Twitter: “The regime is homophobic and it knows that Egyptian society is homophobic. Homophobia kills. "

In Malta, activists demonstrated in front of the Egyptian embassy in Ta 'Xbiex ; the human rights organization Moviment Graffitti criticized Malta for classifying Egypt as a “safe country of origin” to which refugees can be sent back.

Under the hashtag #RaiseTheFlagForSarah, people from all over the world expressed their solidarity with Sarah Hegazi on Twitter and shared the incriminated photo of her at the concert.

Web links

Commons : Sarah Hegazi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g Valerie Lannon: Our tribute to comrade / rafeqa Sarah Hegazi. June 14, 2020, accessed on June 17, 2020 .
  2. ^ Mourning the loss of the Egyptian LGBTQ activist Sarah Hijazi. In: RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. June 15, 2020, accessed June 16, 2020.
  3. A year after the raising of the rainbow flag incident ... and five years after the longest security crackdown against people with different sexual orientations. In: Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. September 25, 2018, accessed June 16, 2020.
  4. Jane Arraf: After Crackdown, Egypt's LGBT Community Contemplates 'Dark Future'. Accessed June 17, 2020 (English).
  5. Sarah Hegazi was arrested and tortured for waving a rainbow flag. In: Der Tagesspiegel. June 16, 2020, accessed June 19, 2020 .
  6. a b c d Declan Walsh: Arrested for Waving Rainbow Flag, a Gay Egyptian Takes Her Life. In: The New York Times. June 15, 2020, accessed June 16, 2020.
  7. Kersten Knipp, Imane Mellouk: Egypt: Farewell to the LGBT activist Hegazy. June 16, 2020, accessed June 22, 2020 .
  8. Hala Kodmani: Egypt: la militante LGBT Sarah Hegazi “tuée par la prison” , Liberation , June 16, 2020
  9. Stéphanie Jaquet: Sarah Hegazi, martyre égyptienne du mouvement LGBTQIA + , Radio Télévision Suisse , June 19, 2020
  10. ^ Sarah Hegazi: The Egyptian revolution: Nine years later. January 24, 2020, accessed on June 17, 2020 .
  11. ^ A b Sarah Hegazy: A year after the rainbow flag controversy. June 15, 2020, accessed on June 22, 2020 .
  12. Julia Neumann: On the death of Sarah Hegazi: The robbed lung. In: taz. June 16, 2020, accessed June 19, 2020 .
  13. ^ Valeria Lannon: Interview: lessons from Egypt's counter-revolution for Sudan. July 17, 2019, accessed on June 17, 2020 .
  14. Ban Barkawi: 'Heartbreaking and tragic': Egyptian LGBT activist found dead while seeking asylum in Canada. In: National Post. June 15, 2020, accessed June 16, 2020.
  15. 'Egypt failed her': LGBT activist kills herself in Canada after suffering post-prison trauma. In: Middle East Eye. June 15, 2020, accessed June 16, 2020.
  16. Egyptian LGBTQI + Activist Sara Hegazy Dies Aged 30 in Canada. In: Egyptian Streets. June 14, 2020, accessed June 16, 2020.
  17. Kriss Rudolph: Mourning the Egyptian LGBTIQ activist Sarah Hijazi. In: Team magazine. June 15, 2020, accessed June 17, 2020 .
  18. Sarah El Sirgany: how one gay Egyptian woman stood up to homophobia and paid the ultimate price. In: CNN. June 17, 2020, accessed June 19, 2020 (English).
  19. ^ Christian Weisflog: Tragic death of a lesbian activist from Egypt. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung. June 16, 2020, accessed June 19, 2020 .
  20. Kriss Rudolph: Memory of dead LGBTIQ activist in front of Egypt's embassy in Malta. In: Team magazine. June 19, 2020, accessed June 20, 2020 .
  21. Nick Boisvert: LGBTQ activist Sarah Hegazi, exiled in Canada after torture in Egypt, dead at 30. In: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. June 16, 2020, accessed June 20, 2020 .