A group of lawmakers in Egypt have reportedly unveiled legislation that would make it a crime to be gay – or an ally – in the country.
A draft of the legislation was announced with the backing of 15 members of the Egyptian parliament and would explicitly make homosexuality punishable by up to three years in prison.
“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,” the draft states, according to local outlets Egypt Independent and Al Araby.
The law would also target any “supporter” of homosexuality – even if he or she isn’t a “practitioner of homosexuality” – with similar punishments. Anyone promoting or attending a “gay party” would also face jail time.
“It is prohibited to show any sign or symbol of homosexuality or to promote it, all violators will be jailed for no less than one year and no more than three years,” the draft law states.
The draft law also states anyone convicted under the laws will have their names published in “at least two widespread daily journals.”
The arrests are believed to have been sparked by photos posted on social media of Egyptians holding up a rainbow flag during a local concert by a Lebanese band with a gay lead singer.
More than 30 people were reportedly arrested within the following week, with human rights groups alleging several dozen more have also been detained.
Homosexuality is not yet outlawed in Egypt, but discrimination against the LGBTI community is widespread, with those arrested typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.
Human Rights Watch said last month Egyptian police actively hunt down LGBTI people by seeking them out through dating apps and social media.
“Whether they were waving a rainbow flag, chatting on a dating app, or minding their own business in the streets, all these victims should be immediately released,” Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson said.
“The Egyptian government, by rounding people up based on their presumed sexual orientation, is showing flagrant disregard for their rights.”