Saudi Arabia Arrests 110 Gay Men
U.K., March 18, 2005
By Ben Townley
SUMMARY: According to press reports, police in Saudi
Arabia have arrested a group of presumably gay men, claiming they were
celebrating a gay wedding in the city of Jeddah.
Police in Saudi Arabia have arrested a group of
presumably gay men, claiming they were celebrating a gay wedding in the city
According to press reports, 110 men were arrested at a
party, with many fleeing as special-forces officers entered.
Although 80 detainees were released, according to the
Guardian, 30 men are still being held and are likely to face charges.
The arrests follow a growing international awareness of
the Saudi stance on homosexuality, which is still illegal in the country and
punishable by jail terms or even death.
Although the government regularly makes arrests, an
increasing number of accounts suggest that people bearing grudges are
currently exploiting the taboo nature of sexual diversity.
Men can be arrested under suspicion of being gay, and
neighbors often tip off police forces, reports suggest, leaving the system
open to personal vendettas.
Earlier this week, two men were executed for murdering
another man, who had reportedly threatened to reveal they were partners.
These latest arrests are reminiscent of similarly
high-profile arrests in nearby Egypt, where homosexuality is also taboo.
Egypt’s government has also been accused of regularly
rounding up gay men, most notably in the 2001 arrest of more than 50 people at
a boat party.
Since then, the country has been under continuous attack
by human rights groups, gay activists and celebrities.
Saudi Arabia is also known to regularly block gay Web
sites such as gaymiddleeast.com and
international gay sites, including Gay.com.
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