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Notícies :: criminalització i repressió : sexualitats
Solidarity Needed! 26 Homosexuals under arrest in UAE
01 des 2005
26 Homosexuals arrested on the 22nd of November in United Arab Emirates, a strong USA ally, are still under police detention. Let them hear your anger, demand that all arrested be free without charges and all persecutions be put to an end IMMEDIATELY! (details at the bottom of article)
Police acting on a tip raided a hotel in Ghantout, a desert region on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, and found a dozen âmenâ?* dressed as female brides and a dozen others in male Arab dress, apparently preparing for a ceremony that would join them as husbands and wives,according to MoI spokesman Issam Azouri . âIt was a real party with balloons and champagne,â? Azouri said .

*Men is used between quotation as not to impose any gender role on the 26 persons under arrest.

Initally Azouri was reported in the media as saying that the UAE government will enforce hormonal and psychological âtreatmentâ? on the 26 homosexuals arrested in Abu Dhabi on the 22nd of November. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5439726,00.html

However in aparently response to international pressure a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in the United Arab Emirates has now back tracked on these statements:

"They [the arrested individuals] have not been treated with hormones or any other medicines," the spokesman said. "What has been reported in the local and international media is wholly inaccurate."

The ministry spokesman went on to say any punishment or prescription of âmedicinesâ? is not the concern of the ministry. âThe judiciary is the sole competent authority that can act according to the laws and constitution of the country," he said. "Only the judiciary can issue appropriate rulings as per the UAE laws. He added that the role of the ministry was to âhelpâ? the arrested individuals and its obligation ended there. With this the MoI has ended the uproar against the threat of enforcing the hormonal âtreatmentâ?. The âofficialâ? has moved the issue from a human rights violation to an interior violation of the state laws.

The goverment spokeman said that any statements made to the media in the past week were nothing more than a general overview and were not based on any scientific or judicial inputs. He stated that the impulsiveness of some sources in talking about how the case of the arrestees will end, was in the hope of "helping" them. The source urged the media and other concerned parties to be accurate while disseminating news. Such information should be obtained through official channels, he said. He also called on the media to refrain from exaggerating issues and publishing news without proof.


According to him, the persons are likely to be tried under Muslim law on charges related to adultery and prostitution. They people from the Emirates as well as a DJ from India and three from neighboring Arab states. One of the arrested was to perform the wedding ceremony. Azouri said some of the group told police they are sex workers. Others had been arrested before.

Last year, police made mass arrests at an apparent gay wedding in the conservative emirate of Sharjah and at the Khor Fakkan beach resort in Fujairah emirate, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The two dozen âmenâ? arrested in Sharjah were given symbolic lashings â âmeant to humiliate, not inflict painâ? â and then released from jail, said prominent Emirati lawyer Abdul Hamid al-Kumaiti.

âThere are so many others like these guys,â? al-Kumaiti said. âThe police and rulers need to do more than just lash them and let them go.â?

Azouri described the arrests in Ghantout as a âdelicateâ? matter made public for the first time â more than a week after the event â because the countryâs tribal leadership wants to demonstrate it will not tolerate open homosexuality.

On Friday, as newspapers reported the arrests, the minister of justice and Islamic affairs, Mohammed bin Nukhaira Al Dhahiri, called on parents to be vigilant for âdeviantâ? behavior in their children.

âThere will be no room for homosexual ... acts in the UAE,â? Al Dhahiri was quoted as saying in the Dubai-based Khaleej Times newspaper. The arrested âmenâ? have been questioned by police and were undergoing psychological evaluations Saturday. Azouri said the MoIâs department of social support would try to direct the âmenâ? away from homosexual behavior â using methods including male hormone treatments, if the âmenâ? are found to be deficient. This is now denied by MoI officals as mentioned above.

âBecause theyâve put society at risk they will be given the necessary treatment, from male hormone injections to psychological therapies,â? he said. âIt wasnât just a homosexual act. Now weâre dealing with a kind of marriage. There was a ritual involved.â?

Foreigners arrested will be deported after serving any sentences imposed in court, he said.
Azouri said government psychologists were grappling to learn the causes behind an apparent increase in homosexual behavior in the Emirates. The booming economy has lured hundreds of thousands of Western residents and millions of tourists. Azouri said authorities want to be seen to be taking action at a time when complaints of gay âbehaviorâ? were emerging from the countryâs schools and myriad shopping malls.

It was reported today in many Emirati newspapers that a policeman is facing disciplinary measures for taking pictures of the arrested using his mobile phone and circulating the pictures.

Most cases of homosexual behavior are taboo and violate Emirati laws based on Islamic sharia. The UAE has some sodomy laws, the Abu Zhabi Penal Code makes sodomy punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years, the Penal Code of Dubai imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years on consensual sodomy.

Azouri suggested that other countries with laws based on religion, including Christianity and Judaism, would also ban gay behavior and marriage. âItâs not about freedom of opinion, itâs about respecting religion which forbids this type of behavior,â? he said.

If a closer look is taken on Emirati media newspapers online, English versions refer to the arrested as homosexuals and the Arabic ones use the term âdeviantsâ? or âpervertsâ?. Stakes of Islamic culture, traditions, family ties and threat of western values are being flung left and right by officials and local medias especially Arabic ones. There have been demands of analysis, defence systems and even congratulations for the âtransparencyâ? of the police in this operation

The MoI of the UAE, as other Arab regimes, still wages a war on homosexuality fueling public homophobia by one repressing any realities about homosexuality; then by stigmatizing it as a âwestern influenceâ?, âdistant from the Arab culture and traditionsâ?, and a ânational threatâ?. What is funny is that the United Arab Emirates is one of the biggest US administration´s ass-kissers in the region. Not to mention Dubai and Abu Dhabi being a key target of white European and North American job-seekers, all encouraged by the state and the possibilities of ridiculously high wages. While the jobs that are on the lower end of the scale (closer to nothing compared to wages and lifestyles present for European and North Americans) are left to people from India and the Far East.

As usual, one is to expect that right-wing gay groups in Europe and North America to jump on the case to cast further racism and stereotypes on Arabs and Muslims. Or governments such as the USA that are known for their homophobic repressive policies. For this, the grassroots response need to be strategic and clever for it does not only bear responsibility towards a distinctive rethoric, but also towards homosexuals in the Gulf area and repercussions of interference.

The first concern should be getting the arrested out of the hands of the state with least harm possible.

Make your anger heard, demand that all arrested be free without charges and all persecutions be put to an end IMMEDIATELY!


Fax letters and statements of protest to:

The UK Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
30 Princeâs Gate
London SW7 1PT
Tel+44 20 75811281
Fax +44 20 75819616
Email: embcommer ARROBA cocoon.co.uk
Opening hours 9 a.m.â 3 p.m. Monday to Friday

UK Consulate of the United Arab Emirates
48 Princeâs Gate, London SW7 1PT
Tel +44 20 75893434
Fax +44 20 75819616
Opening hours 9 a.m.â 3 p.m. Monday to Friday


Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs & Awqaf
The Minister: Mohammed Bin Nekhaira Al Dhaheri
Email: moj ARROBA uae.gov.ae
Abu Dhabi Office
POB: 260
Tel: 02 6814000
Fax: 02 6814224

Ministry of Interior
The Minister: H.E. Major-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Email: moi ARROBA uae.gov.ae
Abu Dhabi Office
Tel: 02 4414666
Fax: 02 4414938

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Minister: H. H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Email: mofa ARROBA uae.gov.ae
Abu Dhabi Office
Tel: 02 6652200
Fax: 02 6668015

This work is in the public domain
Sindicat Terrassa