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The New Arab

Saudi man arrested for 'accidentally' flying gay pride flag

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and punishments include execution, chemical castration and imprisonment [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 March, 2016

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A Saudi man has been arrested for "violating public morals" after he unwittingly raised the gay pride flag above his home, as the Kingdom pushes for harsher anti-LGBT laws.

Saudi religious police have arrested a doctor for flying the rainbow pride flag above his home in Jeddah, despite his claims he was unaware of the flag's LGBT symbolism.

The man, who was bailed after agreeing to take down the flag, said he bought the rainbow banner online because one of his children liked it and that he did not know it represented LGBT pride, local media has reported.

The report also said two men were recently arrested for using social media to find homosexual partners.

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and punishments for those engaging in same-sex relationships include execution, chemical castration and imprisonment.

The arrests come as Saudi Arabia's Bureau of Investigation has announced it is pushing to impose the death penalty for homosexuals who "solicit homosexual acts on social media".

Some social media users have used the Arabic-language hashtag #I'mGayYouWon'tTerroriseMe to express outrage at the proposed legislation and show solidarity with the Saudi LGBT community.

"I'm not gay but I stand for [LGBT] rights. They deserve respect and support for their rights because they are normal people just like everyone else," said one Twitter user.

Another user said: "Imagine you were born with a third eye and it was the cause of systematic discrimination against you - to the extent of execution! This is what homosexuals are subjected to in real life."

"It is unacceptable for people to be executed because of their sexual orientation. We are in the 21st century, not the Middle Ages," he added.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia executed the 76th person to be put to death in the country this year.

The executions have been met with warnings from the United Nations and human rights campaigners, who have said the Kingdom is executing people at a "frightening" rate.

Last year the UN was lambasted for choosing Saudi Arabia to head a key UN human rights panel.

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