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ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT: Draft bill to criminalize same-sex relations amid unprecedented homophobic crackdown

15 Nov 2017
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity

More than 60 members of Egypt’s parliament have proposed a deeply discriminatory law that will criminalize same-sex sexual activity in the country for the first time, said Amnesty International.

The proposed bill defines “homosexuality” for the first time and sets harsher penalties of up to five years imprisonment. This deeply discriminatory bill would be a huge setback for human rights and another nail in the coffin for sexual rights in Egypt.

“If passed, this law would further entrench stigma and abuse against people based on their perceived sexual orientation. No one should face discrimination, intimidation or imprisonment based on their real or perceived sexual orientation. The Egyptian authorities must urgently scrap this draft law and put an end to this alarming wave of homophobic persecution.”

One of MPs from the liberal “Free Egyptians” party proposed the new law after collecting at least 67 signatures from members of parliament. The draft bill is expected to be reviewed and discussed by the parliament during its current session and if voted for, it will be sent to the president for sign off.

The bill sets penalties of up to five years in prison for engaging in same-sex sexual relations that are mentioned in the draft bill as acts of “homosexuality”. “Promoting or inciting homosexuality” is also punishable by up to five years in prison.

The draft law also prohibits the public promotion or advertising of any LGBTI gatherings or parties, whether through audio or video publications or via social media. Displaying an LGBTI symbol or sign, or producing, promoting, selling, or marketing such products would also be punishable by up to three years in prison.

The bill also includes a clause that licenses the authorities to publicly “shame” individuals convicted under the draft law by publishing their names and sentences in two national newspapers fuelling the widespread stigma against people perceived to be gay.

9 November 2017

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