DOHA, Qatar – Qatari security forces arbitrarily arrested and ill-treated LGBT people from that country last month, he said Monday in the run-up to the World Cup, which has highlighted human rights issues in the state. Arab from the Persian Gulf.
Homosexuality is illegal in this conservative Muslim country, and some soccer stars have raised concerns about the rights of fans traveling to the event, especially LGBT+ people and women, who rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate.
A Qatari official said in a statement that HRW’s allegations “contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false,” without specifying.
The organizers of the World Cup, which begins on November 20 and is the first to be held in a Middle Eastern country, say that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or origin, is welcome, although they also warn against displays of affection in public
“Freedom of expression and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity must be guaranteed, on a permanent basis, for all Qatari residents, not just for spectators going to Qatar for the World Cup,” HRW said in a statement.
The organization said it had interviewed six LGBT Qataris, including four transgender women, a bisexual woman and a gay man, who reported being detained between 2019 and 2022 and subjected to verbal and physical abuse, including kicking and punching.
They were held without charge in an underground prison in Doha, HRW said, and one person was held for two months in solitary confinement.
They said police forced them to sign pledges that they would “stop engaging in immoral activities,” adding that the detained transgender women were forced to attend conversion therapy sessions at a government-sponsored clinic.
Qatar does not “authorize or manage ‘conversion centres,'” the Qatari official said.
One of the Qatari transgender women interviewed by HRW told Reuters on condition of anonymity that she had been arrested several times, most recently this summer, when she was held for several weeks.
Authorities detained her because of her appearance or because she had makeup, the woman said, adding that she had been beaten until she bled and her head was shaved.