Persecution of Homosexuals (Qatar)

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Note that this page may contain news regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, and transsexual people (LGBTT)

American citizen sentenced to receive 90 lashes during a 6-month prison term for "homosexual activity," and 36 gay Filipino workers are deported

Renewed concern is arising around the Cornell Weill Medical College-Qatar (opened October 18, 2002) because of the country's recent record on lesbian and gay rights. According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association's (ILGA) world legal survey, "Article 201 of the Qatari Penal Code punishes sodomy between consenting adults (irrespective of sex) with up to five years of imprisonment."
. . .

In most countries, foreigners, especially Westerners, are often immune to punitive action based on sexuality. In 1995, while the country's government was still under Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani, the father of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, with whom Cornell has been largely negotiating, an American citizen in Qatar was sentenced to receive 90 lashes during a 6-month prison term for "homosexual activity," according to the U.S. Department of State's report on human rights practices for 1996.

In October of 1997, 36 gay Filipino workers were deported, according to the Manila daily newspaper, Today.
Qatar’s Gay Rights Policy Under Scrutiny
The Cornell Daily Sun, December 4, 2002

Gay and suspected gay workers are banned in Qatar

The fight for human rights and justice has its place in the four corners of the world. But if the law that protects the human rights is prohibitive of the justice sought for, human rights play as different role in a person’s life.

Such is the case of the male overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who may be found engaging in homosexual activities in the Middle East.

The Philippine Embassy in Qatar has reported that a number of OFWs were rounded up and “indiscriminately” arrested on the suspicion that they are engaged in homosexual activities. Homosexuality or being gay, for that matter, is strictly prohibited by the Islamic Law (Shariah) and culture as well as the Qur’an (Islam’s holy scripture).

POEA has advised recruitment agencies and non-government agencies to stress in pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS) the importance of honoring the host country’s laws and culture such as those they consider as immoral acts.

The Philipiine Embassy further cautioned that those found guilty of homosexuality will be harshly dealt with by the host government. It also reported that the Qatari government will have continuous drive against activities of this nature.
Gay Workers Banned in Qatar
Philippine Star, November 30, 1997

Filipino worker on charges of sodomy is forced to submit to a rectal examination. Receives 40 lashes on his buttocks and spends 7 ½ months in a detention cell, during which he is raped by a Palestinian co-detainee

John Paul (not his real name) finally came home from Qatar where he spent seven and a half months in a detention cell on charges of sodomy. Fanning himself furiously to ward off the sadistic heat of El Niño at his family's hovel in Tondo, Manila, John Paul related his ordeal to Pro-Gay's Oscar Atadero amidst the noise of a feast for a patron saint in progress last week.
. . .

He said there were no warrants of arrest for him and the many others taken to the CID, which he thinks means something like "Criminal Investigation Department." The detention cells were teeming with men and women from different nations, arrested for charges of robbery, prostitution, trade of liquor and drugs, substance abuse and homicides.

At the CID, he and others like him charged with the catch-all term "homosexuality" was forced to submit to a rectal examination by a Qatari medical technician in order to find out if he was engaging in anal sex. He was deemed positive and ordered jailed until he can be deported back to the Philippines. Topping his tribulations was 40 lashes on his buttocks with a whip, administered by a police officer inside a jail.
. . .
Part of his prison diary was being raped by a Palestinian co-detainee. He didn't want to report the incident, but the guards learned from other prisoners anyway. Instead of punishing the rapist, the jail warden threatened to torture John Paul if he refused to reveal the details of the rape and admit it was his fault.

Like many migrant workers simply seeking a respite from the gross inability to be gainfully employed here, John Paul viewed his misadventure as a part of his fate over which an ordinary mortal has no control.
Shameful Arrest Silences Gay "Bagong Bayani"
Oscar Atadero, ProGay Philippines, May 28, 1998