LGBT abuse and arrests continue in Qatar ahead of World Cup, HRW says


Qatari officials arbitrarily arrested and abused LGBT people, in some cases as recently as last month, Human Rights Watch said in a statement Monday. report which comes less than four weeks before the Gulf nation hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The New York-based group said it documented “six cases of severe and repeated beatings and five cases of sexual harassment” by Qatari authorities between 2019 and 2022. Human Rights Watch said it spoke to four transgender women, one bisexual and another. homosexual who were all being held in an underground prison in Doha.

“All were held without charge, in one case for two months in solitary confinement, without access to a lawyer,” the report said. “None received any record of arrest. These acts could constitute arbitrary detention under international human rights law.

The Washington Post could not immediately verify the accounts of the report. But he adds to concerns raised by rights groups and football players about the safety of LGBT people attending the World Cup next month.

Qatari law prohibits consensual same-sex sexual acts between men, but does not explicitly prohibit them for women, according to the 2021 U.S. State Department Human Rights Act report. Homosexual relations between men can land them in prison for up to seven years.

The Qatari government and FIFA did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday night. But Qatari officials disputed the allegations, saying the report contained “categorically and unequivocally false information”, without giving further details, according to Reuters.

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People interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they were slapped, kicked, and punched while in police custody. At least one woman said she lost consciousness. Members of Qatar’s Department of Preventive Security, an agency under the country’s Interior Ministry, forced the six to sign pledges to “cease all immoral activity”.

One of the transgender women told Human Rights Watch that she was arrested on the street in Doha and accused of “imitating women.” Once inside a police vehicle, the authorities beat her, bled her lips and nose, and kicked her in the stomach. One of the authorities told him that “you gays are immoral, so we will be the same with you”, according to the report.

“I was held for three weeks without charge and officers sexually harassed me on several occasions,” she said. “Part of the release requirement was to attend sessions with a psychologist who would ‘make me a man again’.”

The woman also said she saw at least seven other LGBT people locked up in the same underground prison.

A second transgender woman said she was arrested for wearing makeup. Authorities shaved her hair and asked her to sign a vow that she would never wear makeup again as a condition of her release, she said. Transgender women were required to undergo “conversion therapy” at government-sponsored centers, according to the report.

Human Rights Watch said the arbitrary arrests of those interviewed appeared to be based on a law that allows pre-trial detention if “there are well-founded reasons to believe the accused may have committed a crime”, including “violating morality public”.

Qatar has come under pressure from foreign officials, football players and FIFA over its stance on LGBT people ahead of the World Cup, which begins on November 20. but with caveats such as respect the culture of the country.

Last month, participants in a human rights congress organized by the German football federation urged the Qatari ambassador in Berlin to abolish sanctions for homosexuality in Qatar, the Associated Press reported. reported. Josh Cavallo, an Australian footballer who came out last year, has Express concerns about the country’s homophobic laws. In March, 16 LGBT groups urged Qatar to repeal these laws, among other demands.

FIFA has pushed Doha to hold an inclusive tournament, and fans will be allowed to fly the LGBT rainbow flag during matches after Qatar said it would abide by the football body’s rules promoting gender equality. tolerance and inclusion, according to reports in 2020. But in March, a Qatari official warned that law enforcement officials could remove fans’ rainbow flags to “protect” them from attacks by locals who might be angered by their supportreported the Associated Press.

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