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Peter Tatchell stopped in Qatar while organizing a demonstration for LGBT + rights | Peter Tatchell


Human rights activist Peter Tatchell has been arrested in Qatar while leading a protest against the Gulf state’s criminalization of LGBT+ people.

Tatchell’s protest outside the National Museum of Qatar in the capital, Doha, comes less than a month before the start of the FIFA World Cup, which is expected to attract 1.2 million visitors from around the world.

Reuters reported that two uniformed police and three plainclothes officials arrived at the scene. They folded up his placard and took photos of Tatchell’s passport and other papers, as well as those of a man who was with him. The police left after shaking hands with Tatchell, who remained on the sidewalk.

Tatchell said he and a colleague, Simon Harris, who filmed the protest, were arrested and detained at the scene, but the Qatari government has denied this.

The veteran activist held a sign that read: ‘Qatar arrests, imprisons and subjects LGBT people to’conversion‘#QatarAntiGay.”

The Peter Tatchell Foundation said it was the first LGBT+ protest in Qatar or any Gulf state.

The incident adds to growing pressure on Qatar over its treatment of the LGBT+ community and migrant workers, as well as other human rights concerns.

Qatari law criminalizes male and female homosexuality, with one to three year sentences for adults convicted of consensual same-sex or lesbian sex.

In a video statement released after the incident, Tatchell said he was arrested and detained by Qatari authorities after protesting outside the museum.

He said: “I stood in front of the National Museum of Qatar on the busy main road with my placard for 35 minutes before state security arrived, followed by the police. I was arrested and held on the sidewalk for 49 minutes.

“There were a total of nine officers surrounding me and questioning me about where I was from, who was helping me, where I was staying and when I was leaving Qatar.”

The Qatar government’s communications office denied that Tatchell had been arrested. He said in a statement: “The rumors on social media that a representative of the Peter Tatchell Foundation has been arrested in Qatar are completely false and baseless. An individual standing in a roundabout was cordially and professionally asked to move onto the sidewalk, no arrests were made.

Last month, European football associations announced plans for team captains – including England’s Harry Kane – to wear ‘One Love’ rainbow armbands to symbolize opposition to LGBT+ discrimination in Qatar .

Speaking from Qatar shortly before his protest, Tatchell said: “Although Fifa has said that discrimination will not be tolerated, if a Qatari footballer comes out as gay, he would be more likely to be arrested and imprisoned. than being selected for the national team is discrimination and against FIFA rules.

“Fifa has failed to secure change in Qatar. There have been no legislative reforms on LGBT+ or women’s rights. Improvements for migrant workers have been patchy at best. Fifa leaves the Qatar shirk many of their promises when they won the right to host the World Cup.

Tatchell’s arrest comes as Qatar’s ruling emir criticized his country for its hosting of the World Cup, describing it as an “unprecedented campaign” targeting the first Arab nation to host the tournament.

In a televised address to the emirate’s legislative body on Tuesday, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said: “The campaign tends to continue and expand to include fabrications and double standards that were so fierce that it has unfortunately made many people question the true reasons and motives.”

Human rights groups credit Qatar for improving its labor laws since winning the right to host the world’s biggest sporting event, such as dismantling the kafala system, for example , which tied a worker to a single employer, and the introduction of a minimum monthly wage. However, campaigners are calling for more to be done.

theguardian

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