Egypt is hoping to pass the most ‘homophobic law in the world’.
Police are hunting for LGBTI people and allies following rainbow flags being raised at the Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo.
Dozens have been arrested, with more than 20 receiving jail sentences ranging from six months to six years.
The charges of varied, including ‘debauchery’, ‘inciting sexual deviancy’ and ‘joining an outlawed group’.
And while police are attempting to use these vague offences to imprison LGBTI activists, politicians hope to go one step further.
Behind the most ‘homophobic law in the world’
MP Riyad Abdel Sattar has authored a measure that would sentence LGBTI people, and allies, to jail.
‘Any person engaging in homosexuality in a public or private place should be subjected to punitive action that should be no less than one year and not exceeding three years in jail,’ it reads.
‘Individuals that incite same sex relations, either by inciting, facilitating, hosting, or calling for, even if they don’t perform the act itself, will be punished to prison…as well as shutting down the venue.’
Both publicity and advertising for LGBTI parties, bars and clubs will be banned.
‘It is strictly prohibited to carry any symbol or sign of the homosexual community, as well as it’s prohibited to produce, sell, market, or promote such products. Violators will be sentenced to prison for a period no less than one year and no more than three years.’
This means activists, journalists covering gay events, or anyone even carrryng a rainbow flag could be imprisoned.
Human rights activists call on Egypt to not pass homophobic law
Abdul, a lawyer in Cairo, Egypt, has asked us to not use his last name.
‘If these politicians want to claim we have freedom of speech, freedom of association, or any form of freedom given to a civilized society, then they are liars,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘This is taking Russia’s law on propaganda of gay topics even further. It’s even more draconian. This could be one of the most homophobic laws in the world, if passed.’
Human Rights Campaign’s Global Director Ty Cobb agreed, calling the bill ‘one of the most dangerous anti-LGBTQ proposals we have seen in recent memory.’
A union of Egyption and international organizations have also called on Egyptian media outlets to stop falsely homosexuality a ‘disease’.
Many believe local media is inciting hate speech, and violating human rights.
‘Repression will not turn gay people straight,’ said Human Rights Watch Sarah Leah Whitson. ‘It will only perpetuate fear and abuse.’