Bahrain: Police arrest 127 males in gay party raid

المصدر: 
AlArabiya & GME

Bahraini police raided a gay party in Manama and arrested 127 mainly homosexuals from the Gulf countries. The fee-paying party described as "depraved and decadent" by the Bahraini police was organized on Wednesday and brought gay men mainly from GCC countries. A sports hall in Hidd, a conservative village in Muharraq island in north of Bahrain, was spotted as the party’s location for the revelers whose ages ranged from 18 to 30 years old.

The Bahraini authorities knew about the party when neighbors started complaining of noise in the traditional fishing village. At 2:30 a.m. the police was sent to patrol the area in order to verify the claims.

An undercover agent paid the 20 dinar entrance fee and was allowed into the hall where he saw dozens of cross-dressers drinking and smoking shisha. More patrols were called in and 127 people were arrested in the police swoop, the UAE-based Gulf News said.

Initial investigations have revealed that the men were either Gulf nationals who came to Bahrain for the party or were living in Bahrain and flocked to the hall in Hidd, Gulf News added. The organizers are being held separately.

The Hidd Club officials said that they will check with the investor who rented the club for the gay men.

The embassies of the non-Bahrainis have been told about the arrest, the paper said.

Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and illegal in most of Arab countries.


Dan Littauer, Executive Editor 4.3.2011 (GayMiddleEast.com)

MANAMA, Bahrain - On the 3rd of February there was a mass arrest of close to 200 people at a suspected gay party in Muharraq, Bahrain. The arrest followed complaints by residents about noise levels. When the police arrived to the club they apparently reported they saw men dressed up and dancing as women. Some local media described the venue as a "gay party", and even spoke of gay orgy in the party. However this incident did not get much attention. The authorities charged 52 of the participants with debauchery and prostitution which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years. They also charged some of the defendants with organising the party without a proper license as well as the consumption of alcohol and smoking illegal soft drugs. The defendants were held in jail since the 03 February.

The Bahraini Court yesterday (3rd of March) sentenced 49 of the detainees in the "gay party case" to 1 to six months in prison. They found two of the defendants innocent and released them. 46-47 of the detainees are from Saudi Arabia. They all belong to the same clan and were accused of cross-dressing. Two detainees are from Qatar, two from Lebanon, and one is a Kuwaiti citizen. 

Although some local Bahraini media simply reported the jail sentence, our sources have verified that those who were not charged with drinking Alcohol (most of them) were allowed to walk away from jail back home on a mere 200 Bahraini Dinars Bail (about 530 US$). A few who had alcohol-related charges (up to four people) are still in custody. This is indeed a positive development. It seems that the government did not use full force (according to Bahraini law, debauchery can be punished for up to 5 years in prison) and rather used this as a kind of warning to the men found guilty.

Opinion:

 

GME welcomes the men’s release, although we note that the participants were acting in private and thus charges should not have, in any case, been brought against them, notwithstanding illegal selling alcohol and drugs. We also point out that the 49 men were held for a month in jail.