(Abu Dhabi) Twenty-six men arrested at what police in the United Arab Emirates called a “gay wedding” have been sentenced each to five years in prison.
The men were charged with homosexuality, a crime under Sharia law, although police acknowledged that non of the men were engaged in a sexual act when police raided the event.
Press reports from the capital say that the men did not deny being gay, although some of the accused reportedly identify as transgendered.
Lawyers familiar with the case say the sentences are likely to be appealed.
Police, acting on a tip, raided a hotel in Ghantout, a desert region on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway last November, and found what they descried as a dozen men dressed as female brides and a dozen others in male Arab dress. (story) The case attracted worldwide attention when an Interior Ministry employee told reporters that the accused could be forced by the government to receive male hormone shots.
Esam Azouri told reporters at the time that a Sharia court could impose male hormone treatments “to direct the men away from homosexual behavior”, five years in jail and a lashing. In handing down its sentence Friday the court did not mention either hormone injections or lashings.
In 2005 UAE police made mass arrests at another event, also described by authorities as a gay wedding in the conservative emirate of Sharjah and at the Khor Fakkan beach resort in Fujairah emirate.
Two dozen men arrested in Sharjah were given symbolic lashings and then released from jail.
haria courts which uphold strict Islamic law have a history of imposing harsh sentences.
The exiled Iranian gay rights group, Homan, claims the Iranian government has executed at least 4,000 gays since 1979. (story) In Nigeria a number of men accused of gay sex acts have been sentenced to death by stoning. (story)
Driver muslimske regeringer koncentrationslejre for bøsser ?
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