LGBT abuse, arrests continue in Qatar before World Cup, HRW says


Qatari officials have arrested and mistreated LGBT people without reason, in some cases as recently as last month, Human Rights Watch said in a report that comes less than four weeks before the Gulf state hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The New York-based organization said it had documented “six 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 woman and one. A gay man in an underground prison in Doha.

“All of them were detained without any charges, in one case for two months in isolation, without lawyers,” the report says. “No one has received any arrest report. These actions may amount to arbitrary detention under international human rights law.”

The Washington Post could not immediately verify the accounts in the report. but she Rights groups and soccer players are adding to their concerns about the safety of LGBT people at next month’s World Cup.

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According to the US State Department’s 2021 Human Rights Report, Qatari law prohibits consensual same-sex sexual acts between men, but does not expressly prohibit women. Same-sex relationships between men can get them up to seven years in prison.

The Qatari government and FIFA did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Monday. But Qatari officials have denied the claims, saying the report “contains categorical and outright falsehoods,” without elaborating further, Reuters reported.

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People interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they were slapped, kicked, and punched while in detention. At least one woman reported fainting. The officers of Qatar’s Department of Preventive Security under the country’s Ministry of Interior forced all six to sign a pledge to “cease immoral activities.”

One transgender woman told Human Rights Watch that she was arrested on the street in Doha and accused of “imitating women.” When he entered the police car, the authorities beat him, bloodied his lips and nose, and kicked him inside. One of the authorities told him: “You gays are immoral, so we will be equal to you,” according to the report.

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

The woman also saw at least seven other LGBT people imprisoned in the same underground prison.

A second transgender woman said she was arrested for wearing makeup. Authorities shaved her head and asked her to swear never to wear makeup again as a condition of her release, she said. Transgender women were supposed to receive “conversion therapy” at government-funded centers, the report said.

According to Human Rights Watch, the arbitrary arrest of those questioned is based on a law that allows for detention if there is “reasonable reason to believe that the defendant may have committed a crime,” including “an offense against public morals.”

Qatar has faced pressure from foreign officials, soccer players and FIFA over its stance on LGBT people ahead of the World Cup, which starts on November 20. Qatari officials say anyone, regardless of background, can participate — but with caveats respect the country’s culture.

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Last month, participants in a human rights congress organized by the German soccer federation called on the Qatari ambassador in Berlin to lift the punishment for homosexuality in Qatar, the Associated Press reported. There’s Australian footballer Josh Cavallo, who came out as gay last year said concern over the country’s homophobic laws. In March, 16 LGBT groups urged Qatar to repeal the laws, among other demands.

FIFA has pushed Doha to host an inclusive tournament and, according to reports in 2020, fans will be allowed to fly the rainbow LGBT flag at matches after Qatar said it would abide by the football body’s rules encouraging tolerance and inclusion. But in March. , a Qatari official warned that law enforcement officials may remove the rainbow flags to “protect” them from attacks by locals who may be angered by fan support, the Associated Press reported.


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