A gay flight attendant was deported after being detained by security in Qatar for wearing tinted moisturiser.
The former Qatar Airways flight attendant was interrogated for wearing the product, which is perceived by authorities as a sign of homosexual behaviour and illegal in the country.
Gilbert Ignatius was arrested while celebrating his 32nd birthday with friends in May. The group attempted to enter a hotel for drinks but were stopped by security because of their appearance.
In an account told to iNews, Ignatius says the security guard told them an officer from Qatar’s Criminal Investigation Department wanted to speak to them. In a security room, one of the officers ran a wet wipe across Ignatius’ face and the face of one of his friends. The wipe picked up the tinted moisturiser on their skin.
“You have no rights. This is Qatar.”
Even though Ignatius protested that they did not have consent, the officers demanded the men’s phones and IDs. Gilbert refused to comply at first, asking to speak to someone from the Indonesian Embassy. He was then told that if he refused, he would be jailed.
According to Ignatius, the officer told him, “You have no rights. This is Qatar.”
The two were then taken to the local police station where they were interrogated about whether they were prostitutes or if they had engaged in homosexual acts. The police said the tinted moisturiser and the Hermes belt Ignatius was wearing at the time as “evidence.” They accused the two of engaging in prostitution, which like homosexuality, is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
The officers also found images of him shirtless at Bangkok Pride, which they claimed was more evidence.
After losing his job with Qatar Airlines, Ignatius and his friends were given three days to pack their belongings and were flown back to Indonesia. He has since been banned from visiting Qatar.
He has now found a new job in Australia with Jetstar, but says he remains traumatised by the experience.
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