A school in Saudi Arabia has been fined more than $25,000, with authorities claiming the rainbows on its building were "emblems of homosexuality," according to a Twitter account associated with the agency that enforces the country's religious law.
A second tweet said, "They sent the school administrator responsible for the emblem to jail in preparation to refer the case to the Bureau of Investigation and the general prosecutor."
The incident does not appear to have been widely reported in Saudi Arabia, but Saeed Matooq, editor of one of the leading news outlets broadcasting in Saudi Arabia, the Arab Channel, appeared to mock the action against the school when retweeting the pictures.
"This is a Saudi school painted normally. They said it is marketing for homosexuality, and then formed a committee and erased the colors. My question is: did the colors come first or did homosexuality?"
Homosexuality and trans people are routinely punished by flogging in Saudi Arabia, and the country's authorities are among the most aggressive in the region in targeting LGBT people online and on mobile hookup apps. In July of 2014, a 24-year-old man was sentenced to 450 lashes and three years in prison for soliciting sex with other men on Twitter, according to a U.S. State Department human rights report, and 35 men alleged to be gay were arrested this April in a raid in the city of Jeddah.
J. Lester Feder is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. His secure PGP fingerprint is 2353 DB68 8AA6 92BD 67B8 94DF 37D8 0A6F D70B 7211
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Maged Atef is a journalist based in Cairo.
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