Qatar: Security forces arrest and abuse LGBT people

(Beirut, 24 October 2022) – Qatar’s Preventive Security Department forces have arbitrarily arrested and mistreated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. As Qatar prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in September 2022, LGBT people interviewed by Human Rights said the government’s treatment of LGBT people is already raising serious questions.

Human Rights Watch documented six severe and repeated beatings and five sexual assaults in police custody between 2019 and 2022. Security forces have arrested people in public places based solely on sexual expressions and conducted illegal searches of their phones. As a condition of their release, security forces required transgender prisoners to attend “conversion therapy” sessions. behavioral support funded by the government.

As Qatar prepares to host the World Cup, security forces are arresting and abusing LGBT people simply for being who they are. Rasha Yunes, researcher at Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Rights Program, said. ” Qatari authorities must end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The whole world is watching what is happening. »

Human Rights Watch interviewed six LGBT Qataris, including six transgender women, one bisexual woman, and one gay man. Dr. Nasser Mohamed, an openly gay Qatari activist, helped Human Rights Watch contact five of the interviewees.

All said they were detained by officers of the Preventive Security Department in an underground prison in Al-Dafna, Doha, where they were verbally abused and subjected to physical abuse, from slaps to kicks and punches, and even blood. One woman said she fainted. Security agents also verbally abused detainees, forced them to confess, and denied them access to lawyers, family, and medical care. The six said the police forced them to sign statements that made them “promise”. stop all immoral acts “.

All of these persons were held in solitary confinement for two months in one case without any charges and without a lawyer. None of them received information about their detention. Such actions are likely to constitute arbitrary detention under international human rights law.

The Department of Preventive Security is under the Ministry of Interior of Qatar.

A Qatari transgender woman said she was blamed by Preventive Security officers after she was arrested by security forces on the street in Doha. imitate women according to her gender expression. In the police car, they beat him until his lips and nose bled and kicked him in the stomach. ” You gays are immoral people, so we do the same as you “, the agent started.

Many other LGBT people were detained there: two Moroccan lesbians, four Filipino gays and one Nepali gay. “, he said. ” I was held for three weeks without charge and the officers repeatedly sexually assaulted me. One of the conditions of my release was to attend sessions with a psychologist who would “make me a man again.” »

Another transgender woman from Qatar said she was arrested in public by the Department of Preventive Security for wearing makeup. ” They gave me tissues and made me wipe the makeup off my face “, he said. ” They used napkins with makeup stains as evidence against me and took a picture of me with the napkin in my hand. They also shaved my hair. According to her, as a condition of her release, the security forces made her sign a statement promising not to wear makeup.

A bisexual Qatari woman said: “ [Les agents de la Sécurité préventive] He beat me repeatedly until I passed out. An officer took me blindfolded inside to another place that looked like a private home, where he forced me to watch tied people being beaten as an intimidation strategy..”

A Qatari transgender woman who was arrested by Preventive Security in a public place in Doha said: “ They are [ces agents] they are mafia. I was detained twice, once for two months in an underground cell, and the second time for six weeks. They beat me and cut my hair every day. They also took off my shirt and took pictures of my chest. I was depressed because I was in prison. To this day, I have nightmares and am afraid to go out in public.. »

In all cases, LGBT prisoners said that Preventive Security Forces forced them to unlock their phones for photos, private conversations and contacts of other LGBT people on their devices.

A gay Qatari man accustomed to government crackdowns and particularly arbitrary arrests said security forces tracked and arrested him for his online activities.

The accounts of all the interviewees were strikingly similar. Human Rights Watch said that the repressive environment in Qatar that affects freedom of expression, particularly the rights of LGBT people, prevents most of the abused from answering questions during interviews.

Article 285 of the Qatari Criminal Code punishes extramarital sex, including same-sex sex, with up to 7 years in prison. None of those interviewed said they had been charged and it appears that their arbitrary arrest and detention was based on the Community Protection Act 17 of 2002. there are reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant may have committed a crime “especially” violation of public morals Qatari authorities also censor mainstream media coverage of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In 2020, Qatar committed to future visitors that the country would welcome LGBT people and that fans would be free to fly the rainbow flag at FIFA World Cup matches. The fact that officials are suggesting that Qatar will make an exception to its abusive laws and practices in its treatment of foreigners is a clear reminder that Qatari authorities do not believe that LGBT citizens and residents deserve to enjoy basic rights, Human Rights said. Look.

FIFA, the football body that presented the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, adopted the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2016. refrain from violating the human rights of others and eliminate negative impacts on human rights “. These principles require FIFA to take adequate measures.” prevent or reduce ” of such cases and ” remedy to these situations.

Human RightsWatch said Qatari security forces should end arrests for sex between adults, including same-sex or based on sexual expression, and immediately release LGBT people still arbitrarily detained. The government of Qatar must abandon all government-sponsored programs that promote the mistreatment of LGBT people by security forces, including the practice of conversion therapy. Countries sending security teams to Qatar during the World Cup must ensure they respect international human rights law and not contribute to abuses committed by Qatari security forces.

Qatari authorities should repeal Article 285 and all laws criminalizing consensual sex outside of marriage and introduce legislation that protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity online and offline. Human Rights Watch said that freedom of expression and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity must be guaranteed permanently for all people in Qatar, not just spectators traveling to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup.

With the World Cup just weeks away, LGBT people are raising the alarm over abuses at the hands of security forces. ” concluded Rasha Younes. ” The Qatari government should demand an immediate end to such abuses and FIFA should urge the Qatari government to initiate long-term reforms that protect LGBT people from all forms of discrimination and violence. »



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