Gay airline employee subject to ‘torture’ after arrest in Qatar, family says

Author: Ryan Adamczeski

The family of a gay airline employee is demanding his release from Qatari prison, accusing authorities of torture by withholding his HIV medication.

Manuel Guerrero, 44, moved to Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, seven years ago for his work. He was detained on February 4, according to his relatives, who say that the Mexican-British dual citizen was entrapped by law enforcement through a fake Grindr profile. They also claim that authorities framed him for drug possession by planting a quarter of a gram of methamphetamine in his apartment.

Guerrero’s brother, Enrique, said that their family was not informed of his arrest until 23 days after it occurred. He told Agence France Presse that Guerrero “was forced to sign numerous documents in Arabic that he does not understand. He did not have an interpreter or a lawyer. The embassies were never informed by the Qatari government.”

“It’s not acceptable for a Mexican and British citizen to be imprisoned because of their sexual orientation,” he said.

Guerrero also told his brother that Qatari authorities also forced him to name other LGBTQ+ people, and that they are currently refusing to administer his HIV medication. Enrique spoke further in an interview on Mexican television, via The US Sun, referring to the acts as “torture,” and stating that authorities have also deprived his brother of food and water, and allegedly forced him to witness other prisoners’ whippings.

The Mexican embassy said in a statement via multiple outlets that representatives of the United Kingdom must engage with Qatari officials, as Guerrero was registered as a British resident of Qatar, but that they will “do everything within the power of the Mexican state to safeguard Manuel’s rights, his dignity, and his access to necessary health treatments.”

A spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office only confirmed that it is “providing consular assistance to a British man who is detained in Qatar and are supporting his family.”

Guerrero has a court hearing on March 13 where public prosecutors will decide whether to expel him or put him on trial. Enrique said that “sending the case to trial would imply a process of months which without adequate medical treatment would condemn him to death.”

“Qatar penalizes homosexuality and any issues pertaining to sexual diversity, but … human rights supersede their homophobic laws,” he continued in his interview. “Sexual orientation, sexual diversity is a human right, not a crime.”

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Ryan Adamczeski

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