DOHA — Safety forces in Qatar arbitrarily arrested and abused LGBTQ Qataris as not too long ago as final month, Human Rights Watch mentioned on Monday, within the run-up to internet hosting soccer’s World Cup which has put a highlight on human rights points within the Gulf Arab state.
Homosexuality is prohibited within the conservative Muslim nation, and a few soccer stars have raised issues over the rights of followers touring for the occasion, particularly LGBTQ people and ladies, whom rights teams say Qatari legal guidelines discriminate in opposition to.
A Qatari official mentioned in an announcement that HRW’s allegations “comprise info that’s categorically and unequivocally false,” with out specifying.
Organizers of the World Cup, which begins on Nov. 20 and is the primary held in a Center Jap nation, say that everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or background, is welcome, whereas additionally warning in opposition to public shows of affection.
“Freedom of expression and nondiscrimination primarily based on sexual orientation and gender identification ought to be assured, completely, for all residents of Qatar, not simply spectators going to Qatar for the World Cup,” HRW mentioned in an announcement.
The group mentioned it had interviewed six LGBTQ Qataris, together with 4 transgender ladies, one bisexual girl and one homosexual man, who reported being detained between 2019 and 2022 and subjected to verbal and bodily abuse, together with kicking and punching.
They had been detained with out cost in an underground jail in Doha, HRW mentioned, and one particular person was held for 2 months in solitary confinement.
“All six mentioned that police pressured them to signal pledges indicating that they’d ‘stop immoral exercise,’” it mentioned, including that transgender ladies detainees had been mandated to attend conversion remedy periods at a government-sponsored clinic.
Qatar doesn’t “license or function ‘conversion centres,’” the Qatari official mentioned.
One of many transgender Qatari ladies interviewed by HRW advised Reuters on situation of anonymity that she was arrested a number of instances, most not too long ago this summer time when she was held for a number of weeks.
Authorities had stopped her as a result of her look or for possessing make-up, the girl mentioned, including that she had been crushed to the purpose of bleeding and had her head shaved.
The habits middle she was mandated to attend advised the girl she had a gender identification dysfunction and accused her of being transgender seeking “sympathy from others.”
“The very last thing I need is sympathy, I simply need to be myself,” she mentioned.
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