Gay Mexican-British man sentenced to prison in Qatar

A Mexican-British man, whose family alleged he was arrested in Qatar for being gay, has been sentenced to prison.


A Mexican-British man, whose family alleged he was arrested in Qatar for being gay, has been sentenced to prison but can leave the country after paying a fine, the Mexican government said Tuesday.

Manuel Guerrero, an airline employee, was detained in February in the Gulf state, where homosexuality is illegal.

On Tuesday, a Qatari judge sentenced Guerrero to six months in prison, although he will not have to serve the time, Mexico’s foreign ministry said, without saying why.

It said that Guerrero, who had already been granted provisional release, would be allowed to leave Qatar after paying a fine of 10,000 riyals (around $2,750).

Guerrero’s mother, as well as Mexican and British diplomatic and consular officials, attended the trial, according to the ministry, which did not specify the exact charges he faced.

Guerrero’s family had urged the Mexican government to intervene in the case, alleging that he was entrapped by Qatari police using a fake profile on a gay dating app. Qatar denied these charges.

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Guerrero, who has lived in Qatar for seven years, also accused the police of planting drugs in his apartment, his family said in February.

In a statement, a Qatari official said Guerrero was “arrested for possession of illegal substances on his person and in his apartment” and “a drug test later came back positive, confirming the presence of amphetamine and methamphetamine.”

Guerrero and his family have “made numerous false allegations in an attempt to generate public sympathy,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“A person’s beliefs, background, or orientation do not exempt them from the law,” the official said, adding “no other factors were taken into account when making the arrest” and Gurerro was “treated with respect and dignity throughout his detention”.

Aya Majzoub, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, called for Guerrero’s conviction to be overturned.

She said there are “serious fears” he was “targeted for his sexual orientation and was coerced into providing the authorities with information that they could use to pursue a wider crackdown on LGBTI individuals”.

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In a statement Majzoub added that Guerrero’s “treatment in custody and his unfair trial was utterly horrific” and urged Qatar to “end the discrimination and persecution of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identities”.

– By: © Agence France-Presse

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