Egyptian lawmakers are expected to discuss soon a controversial bill that has been slammed by international human rights groups. The bill seeks to criminalize same-sex relationships and ban the promotion and advertising of LGBTI events.


Illustration Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

International human rights groups are harshly condemning an Egyptian bill that criminalizes same-sex relationships. According to the bill, a judge can send a person who has been convicted of being involved in same-sex relationships to prison for up to 15 years. “This deeply discriminatory bill would be a huge setback for human rights and another nail in the coffin for sexual rights in Egypt,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director.”

In a press release, Amnesty International explained that the Egyptian authorities have been waging a “vicious crackdown targeting LGBTI people in the country” for several weeks. “More than 70 people have been arrested and some have been subjected to anal examinations that amount to torture,” the human rights group added.

“If passed, this law would further entrench stigma and abuse against people based on their perceived sexual orientation,” Bounaim added. “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.”

More than 60 Egyptian lawmakers have signed the controversial bill, which officially defines homosexuality for the first time in the country. Egyptian MP Riad Abdel Sattar proposed the draft law, which is expected to be reviewed and discussed during the parliament’s current session. If the parliament approves the bill, it will be submitted to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi so that he can sign off on it.

Aside from permitting the courts to send those convicted of being in same-sex relationships to several years in prison, the bill bans the promotion and advertising of LGBTI events or meetings and the use of the LGBTI symbol.