An Egyptian newspaper has been banned after it named three actors who it claims made use of a gay prostitution ring.
The weekly Al Balagh Al Gadid newspaper reported that veteran actors Nour El Sherif, Khaled Aboul Naga and Hamdi El Wazir had been questioned by police for allegedly paying for sex with male prostitutes.
It further claimed that they had bribed the police to drop their investigation. Police have denied the claim and the actors have filed lawsuits against the newspaper.
The Egyptian Higher Council for Journalism banned the publication after the actors complained that the weekly was trying to damage their reputations.
“Naming me among other homosexuals defamed me and all Egyptian artists. The Journalists’ Syndicate has to be firm with anyone trying to insult the dignity of Egyptian artists,” El Sherif said, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Homosexuality is considered be highly taboo in the predominantly Muslim country. While Egypt has no legislation specifically against gays and lesbians, the community is commonly targeted through general indecency and immorality laws.