How nations in Middle East and North Africa target LGBT citizens online

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02/21/2023

Government officials across the Middle East and North Africa region are targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people based on their online activity on social media, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Security forces have entrapped LGBT people on social media and dating applications, subjected them to online extortion, online harassment, and outing, and relied on illegitimately obtained digital photos, chats, and similar information in prosecutions, in violation of the right to privacy and other human rights. The 135-page report, “‘All This Terror Because of a Photo’: Digital Targeting and Its Offline Consequences for LGBT People in the Middle East and North Africa,” examines the use of digital targeting by security forces and its far-reaching offline consequences – including arbitrary detention and torture – in five countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia. The findings show how security forces employ digital targeting to gather and create evidence to support prosecutions.

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