Saudi man arrested for flying ‘pretty’ rainbow flag unaware it symbolised LGBT pride

The man said he bought the flag online after one of his children found the colours 'pretty'

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The Independent Online

A Saudi doctor, arrested for flying the rainbow pride flag above his home, has claimed he was unaware of the flag’s LGBT symbolism.

The man said he bought the flag online after one of his children found the colours “pretty” and had no idea it represented LGBT pride, CNN reports.

The Saudi religious police, or the Committee for Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, arrested the man after he raised the flag on a three metre pole above his home in Jeddah.

According to local media, the man was bailed after an “investigation” and agreed to remove the flag.

Homosexuality is illegal under Sharia law in Saudi Arabia and punishments for those engaging in same-sex relationships include chemical castration, imprisonment and even death.

In September, Saudia Arabia insisted the UN remove gay rights from the organisation’s Global Goals, claiming it was “counter to Islamic law.”

The protest came from the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, who told the UN General Assembly that “mentioning sex in the text, to us, means exactly male and female. Mentioning family means consisting of a married man and woman”.

Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s UN ambassador who was elected as chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council, has previously said calls for the Kingdom to support rights for same-sex couples were “unacceptable” and a “flagrant interference in its internal affairs”.

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 human rights campaigners who say the Kingdom is executing people at a “frightening” rate.

In an annual report to the UN’s Human Rights Council, Juan Mendez, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, said it was becoming clear the escalating number of executions in the Kingdom amounted to torture and breached international law.