Doha: A British LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell stirred controversy by alleging that Qatari police arrested him during his protest against the criminalization of LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and more) which was denied by the Qatari authorities.
This came hours after the speech of the Emir of Qatar, who denounced what he described as an unprecedented campaign against his country because of its hosting of the 2022 World Cup.
British activist Peter Tatchell, through his Twitter account on Tuesday, published a series of tweets in which he claimed that he was harassed by the Qatari police for raising slogans in support of LGBT rights.
70-year-old Peter Tatchell, raised a banner in Doha objecting to the criminalization of homosexuality in Qatar.
Peter appeared standing in front of the museum and wearing a T-shirt that read “Qatar against homosexuals”.
He said that he stood on the main road in front of the National Museum in Qatar for 35 minutes, before security detained him for 49 minutes, interrogated him, and then released him.
Tatchell, who staged a similar protest in Russia in 2018, also said, “I made this protest to highlight Qatar’s abuse of LGBT people and migrant workers. I was standing in solidarity with the brave Qatari human rights defenders who cannot make their voices heard due to the risk of arrest, imprisonment and torture. I am returning to the airport with my colleague now.”
In another tweet, he claimed that he was on his way to the airport to leave the country after he was subjected to harassment.
Reuters reported that two police officers in uniform and three officials in civilian clothes arrived at the location of the British activist and wrapped his banner and took pictures of his passport and other papers, and the papers of a man accompanying him.
It confirmed that the police left after shaking hands with Tatchell, who remained standing on the sidewalk.
‘Completely untrue allegations’
However, the Qatari government issued a statement confirming that “the rumours on social media about the arrest of a representative of the Peter Tatchell Foundation in Qatar are completely false and baseless. A person standing in a traffic circle was asked to be friendly and respectful to move to the sidewalk, and no arrests were made.”
“We are always open to dialogue with entities that wish to discuss important topics, but publishing false information with the deliberate intent to provoke negative responses is irresponsible and unacceptable.”
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, said, on Tuesday, that Qatar is being subjected to a “campaign that it has never been subjected to.”
In a speech he delivered during the opening of the Shura Council contract, the Emir added, “Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has faced. We dealt with the matter initially in good faith, and even considered some criticism to be positive and useful.”
The human rights issue in Qatar has become a sharp focus with the approach of the World Cup.
The tournament will start in less than a month. As per media reports but some fans boycotted the event due to what is described as Qatar’s abuse of migrant workers and LGBT people.
On Monday, October 24, Human Rights Watch said that the Qatari authorities arbitrarily arrested LGBT people and subjected them to ill-treatment while in detention. A Qatari official denied these accusations.
The human rights organization documented six cases of LGBT members who were severely and repeatedly beaten and five cases of sexual harassment against people while in police custody between 2019 and 2022.