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A security official would not comment on Hegazy’s case but denied that police incite prisoners against each other or otherwise mistreat them.

The 28-year-old denies waving the flag but is one of 57 people arrested so far in Egypt’s widest anti-gay crackdown yet, a swift zero-tolerance response to a rare show of public support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the conservative Muslim country.The crackdown has Egypt’s already underground LGBT community living in fear.Five gay men who all requested anonymity said they were avoiding gay-friendly spaces and deleting online dating profiles for fear of arrest. But the recent developments underscore an existing reality for gay Egyptians: they are in constant physical danger. We’re not talking about gay rights here, no one is calling for marriage equality, we face the possibility of jail and humiliation for merely existing,” said one 25-year-old gay man.FILE PHOTO: A fan of Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou' Leila holds a rainbow flag during their concert at the Ehdeniyat International Festival in Ehden town, Lebanon August 12, 2017.REUTERS/Jamal Saidi/File Photo At a Cairo courthouse defendants stood in a cage, holding up newspapers and books to hide their faces to shield themselves from the stigma of homosexuality in Egyptian society.

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