NGO accuses Qatar of arbitrary imprisonment and abuse of LGBT people ahead of World Cup

As pointed out by L’Équipe, the NGO Human Rights Watch has published a report in which it accuses the Qatari authorities of arbitrary imprisonment and mistreatment of its LGBT residents, even in the build-up to next month’s World Cup as the country comes under scrutiny.

The report details “six cases of severe and repeated beatings and five cases of sexual harassment in police custody” since 2019, with the most recent one coming in September. The six witnesses – four transgender women, one bisexual woman and one gay man – told HRW that they were held in an underground prison by Preventive Security Department officers, where they allegedly suffered physcal and verbal abuse, forced confessions and were denied access to legal help, family and medical care.

The NGO’s LGBT rights researcher Rasha Younes notably calls on FIFA to act and “push the Qatari government to ensure long-term reform that protects LGBT people from discrimination and violence”. Football’s governing body has, on its end, only indicated that rainbow flags would be allowed at the World Cup stadiums.

A spokesperson for the Qatari government, questioned by AFP, has refuted the allegations and pointed to “Qatar’s commitments in favour of human rights for all”. Sexual relations outside marriage and homosexuality are illegal in the country.

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