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Egypt is using Internet chat rooms to entrap and punish men who are suspected of being g*y. On Jan. 16, a Lebanese man named Wissam Abyad was entrapped on a g*y Web site by an undercover agent posing as a Spaniard who was new to Cairo and looking for friends. Abyad, 26, agreed to meet the man and was then arrested, charged with "debauchery," advertising "against public morals" and inciting others to debauchery. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

According to Abyad’s partner, Abyad refused meetings twice after chatting via Gaydar with the agent posing as the lonely Spaniard, but he finally "felt sorry for him" and agreed to meet for lunch. When he arrived at the arranged meeting spot, a McDonald’s restaurant, four undercover cops arrested him. Last year, a 23-year-old Egyptian man was sentenced to three years in prison after he tried to meet another man he had chatted with online. Amnesty International, which has spoken out against Egypt’s treatment of suspected homosexuals, declared Abyad a "prisoner of conscience."