Saudi Arrests at ‘Gay Wedding’
March 18, 2005
By Malcolm Thornberry European Bureau Chief
LONDON—News reports from Saudi
Arabia say that police this week arrested 110 men at what is described as a
“gay wedding” in the city of Jeddah.
Saudi justice officials seldom release information about
arrests until after a trial and it is impossible to independently verify the
According to Al-Wifaq, a Saudi online newspaper with
connections to interior ministry, police were tipped off by an informant.
The account says that when police arrived on the scene
they found the men, all Saudi citizens, dancing and “behaving like women”.
Eighty men were later released, Al-Wifaq reports but the
remaining 30 appeared in a Jeddah court this week to face charges, the paper
Homosexuality is punishable by flogging, lengthy prison
terms or death under Sharia Islamic law.
The arrests came only a day after a gay couple was beaded
in a public execution in the northern town of Arar, near the Iraq border. The
pair had been convicted of killing a blackmailer. If they had been exposed as
gay they could have been executed anyway.
The Saudi Interior Ministry issued a statement announcing
the execution, saying that Ahmed al-Enezi and Shahir al-Roubli ran over Malik
Khan in their car, beat him on the head with stones and set fire to his corpse
“fearing they would be exposed after the victim witnessed them in a shameful
The term “shameful situation” is regularly used by
the government to refer to homosexual acts.
Last year the Saudi police raided another event
described as a gay wedding party for two African men from Chad at a hotel in
the holy city of Medina. About 50 people were arrested.
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