Last week, Egyptian authorities arrested a transgender woman for taking part in anti-government protests and placed her in a men's jail, The Independent reported.
She was taken into custody along with 70 other people amid a crackdown on protesters following the deadly train crash in Cairo last month.
Identified as Malak al-Kashef, the 19-year-old underwent gender reassignment surgery, but is currently still registered as a male. So, she was sent to a men's prison.
Speaking to Mada Masr news site on Sunday, Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms lawyer Amr Mohamed said al-Kashef "was arrested on March 6 in a sting operation, held in a National Security Agency facility overnight, and then appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution, who ordered her to be detained for 15 days."
She has since been transferred to a jail located in Al Haram area and is currently being held in solitary confinement. She faces charges including "joining an illegal organization and using social media to disturb public order."
According to Mada Masr, lawyers have requested al-Kashef's immediate release as she needs to continue receiving medical treatment for "severe injuries" she sustained after a suicide attempt in 2018.
In a statement on the matter, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said there are "real fears for the physical safety and psychological well-being of Malak al-Kashef."
"Due to her gender identity, Malak is at increased risk of torture by the police, including rape and sexual violence, as well as assault by other detainees," she added.
LGBTIQ+ activists around the world are also raising concerns about al-Kashef's situation, stating she could be at risk of abuse and harassment during her detention.
Hundreds of people are tweeting out in her support via the hashtag "in solidarity with Malak al-Kashef."
Many raised concerns for Malak's safety
“Egypt’s prisons are like graves and chambers for torture and sexual harassment; but for a person like Malak, the chances of abuse will be doubled."
"When are you going to become human?"
"Every human being is free with their body, preferences, religion, beliefs. Until when is this regression going to reign over this part of the world? When are you going to understand that you have to respect people who are different than you?"
"Save trans women"
"Freedom for Malak"
"I wish I had told her how she's strong and beautiful"
"Just a kid"
Not the only trans person to be arrested amid the latest crackdown
Another trans individual, Hossam Ahmed, was arrest as part of the post-train crash arrest campaign. Ahmed was arrested on the day of the tragic incident while sitting in a Cairo coffee shop.
The man's "whereabouts were unknown for four days following his arrest, until he appeared before the State Security Prosecution on March 4, when he was issued a 15-day detention order pending investigations."
He is currently being held in a women's facility in the Abdeen Police Station and faces the same charges as al-Kashef. He has reportedly faced harassment and bullying from other inmates in the prison.
His lawyer, Mohamed Eissa, said Ahmed was denied hormone therapy since his arrest.
Egypt has long been cracking down on the LGBTIQ+ community
In the past few years, Egypt has been cracking down on freedoms and activists in general. Long before that, officials would particularly target members of the LGBTIQ+ community in their arrest campaigns and continue to do so.
While homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, police routinely arrest individuals using decades-old prostitution and debauchery laws.
In 2017, a number of individuals were arrested for raising a rainbow flag during a Mashrou' Leila concert in Cairo. They were detained under charges of "promoting sexual deviancy" and "inciting immorality."
The country's Musicians syndicate also said at the time it will ban the band - whose lead singer Hamed Sinno is openly gay - from performing in the country again.
The situation escalated into what human rights organizations described as a full-fledged LGBTIQ+ crackdown. According to Amnesty, some arrestees have been subjected to forced anal examinations to determine whether they have had gay sex.