Thirty in Court after Saudi Raid on Gay Wedding
Guardian, March 19, 2005
By Brian Whitaker
Saudi Arabian security forces have arrested 110 men at a
“gay wedding” party in Jeddah, a Saudi online newspaper reported.
Al-Wifaq, which has connections with the Interior
Ministry, said the authorities raided a wedding hall on Monday night after a
tip-off and found the men—all Saudis—dancing and “behaving like
Eighty men were later released, but 30 appeared in a
Jeddah court on Wednesday to face charges, it said.
Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and is punished
by flogging, jail or death.
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. One of the Chadians later
claimed the party was a rehearsal for his wedding to a woman, and this was
supported by a Saudi who said he had provided money to meet the marriage
But the Arab News reported that investigators said party
invitations “indicated it was a gay function”.
The investigators also found it suspicious that many of
the guests had fled at the sight of the police and left their cars behind.
It is not known whether anyone was prosecuted.
Despite the heavy penalties for homosexuality, most Saudi
cities are said to have underground gay networks which organise parties in
private villas, and sometimes in hotels.
Saudi executions are not systematically reported, and
officials deny that the death penalty is applied for same-sex activity alone.
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