‘Horrific’: Fears for gay man Manuel Guerrero trapped in Qatar

UK rally to call for Qatar to release of gay man Manuel Guerrero
Image: National AIDS Trust

Family and advocates have rallied to free British gay man Manuel Guerrero Aviña, who is in danger in Qatar after he was arrested in a Grindr sting, detained in “horrific” conditions and denied HIV medication.

Manuel, a Mexican-British national who worked for Qatar Airways, was arrested on February 4. Police used a fake Grindr profile to invite Manuel to a meeting. When Manuel showed up, police officers confronted him instead.

Qatar said Manuel was arrested on drugs charges, and not because of his sexuality. But Manuel claimed police planted methamphetamine on him.

In prison, Manuel was later interrogated and pressured into naming other gay men. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.

Amnesty International believes this interrogation was to provide authorities with information to target other LGBTQ+ Qataris.

“Why else would security officials force Manuel to unlock his phone and identify members of the LGBTQ+ community during his interrogation?” Amnesty’s Dana Ahmed told The Guardian.

Human Rights Watch has previously warned Qatari police entrap and “arbitrarily” arrest queer people on apps in this way.

Manuel Guerrero Aviña’s ‘horrific’ treatment

In detention, Manuel Guerrero Aviña suffered homophobic abuse and authorities denied him food, water and his vital HIV medication as “punishment,” he said.

Amnesty International described the Manuel’s 44 days in prison as “nothing short of horrific”. The organisation report “a range of due process violations” during his trial.

“Manuel repeatedly asked for a lawyer during his time in detention. But he did not have an opportunity to take legal advice for more than a month after his detention,” Dana Ahmed said.

Manuel said authorities pressured him into confessing and forced him to sign documents in Arabic he couldn’t read.

“He had no access to any documents relating to his case for more than two months following his arrest. [He received them] only days before his first trial session, violating his right to a genuine opportunity to prepare and present his defence,” Dana Ahmed said.

‘Clear and abhorrent breach of his rights’

After 44 days, Qatar released Manuel from detention and confiscated his passport.

Manuel is unable to leave Qatar, and now unable to access supplies of HIV medication and is no longer undetectable.

National AIDS Trust CEO Deborah Gold said the UK government must get Manuel safely back to the UK.

“Our government has a duty to protect its citizens whenever they face this kind of intolerable discrimination overseas,” she said.

“Manuel has been deprived of the HIV medication that he needs to stay well, in a clear and abhorrent breach of his rights.

“We have grave concerns about his health and wellbeing if Qatar imprisons him.”

A Qatari court is due to give a verdict in Manuel’s case on June 4.

Manuel’s family, as well as human rights advocates and British MPs, rallied this week outside the UK Foreign Office, warning time is running out.

They’re calling on Foreign Secretary David Cameron to personally intervene in Manuel’s case.

The Foreign Secretary said officials were treating the case “extremely seriously” and offering consular support to Manuel and his family.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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