HRW reports LGBTQ jail beatings before Qatar World Cup

Qatar outlaws sex outside marriage and homosexual sex, which can be punished by up to seven years in prison

Police in Qatar have arbitrarily detained and abused members of the LGBTQ community ahead of the World Cup next month, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Monday.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state which has come under intense scrutiny over its rights record before the tournament that is expected to attract at least one million foreign fans.

The most recent case was in September, the US-based rights group said.

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There “they verbally harassed and subjected detainees to physical abuse, ranging from slapping to kicking and punching until they bled”, HRW said.

One Qatari bisexual woman said she was beaten until she “lost consciousness several times”.

“They beat me every day and shaved my hair. They also made me take off my shirt and took a picture of my breasts,” she said.

In all cases, the detainees were forced to unlock their phones and had contact information on other LGBTQ people taken, HRW said.

But none of those detained said they had been charged.

A Qatar government official said the allegations were “categorically and unequivocally false”.

The official said the government has held talks with HRW and other critical groups, but the latest “claims were not brought to our attention until they were first reported in the media. If Human Rights Watch had contacted us, we would have been able to disprove the allegations.”

The rights group called on the government in Doha to “put an end to security force ill-treatment against LGBT people, including by halting any government-sponsored programs aimed at conversion practices”.

HRW called on FIFA, football’s world body, to press Qatar to launch reforms that protect LGBT people.

FIFA has said that LGBTQ rainbow flags would be allowed in and around stadiums.


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