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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Situations in specific countries or territories, A/HRC/4/25/Add.1, April 5, 2007

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375. On 13 March 2006, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal together with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment regarding Sultan Salem Sultan Bunawwas, Magid Muhammad Khalifa al- Mazru`I, Salih Muhammad Hussein Ahmad, Salah Yusif Hamza al-Asmakh, Shihab Muhammad Abdullah al-Mihirbi, Ahmad Muhammad Thani al-Mazru`I, Khalid Jamal Ali al-Manna`I, Abd al-Basit `Ubaid Mubarak, Nawwaf Hassan Sa`id al- Khamairi, Ahmad Rashid Abdullah al-Naqbi, Gum`a Khadim al-Muhairi and Ahmad Hamid Ali al-Marri, who were found guilty of homosexuality and obscenity.

According to the information received, on 22 November 2005, police raided a villa in Ghantout and arrested 26 men who were gathering there. The police apparently acted in response to allegations that homosexual conduct was taking place and that some of the men were wearing women’s garments or make-up. It is reported that during the raid, police punched, kicked and beat some of the men. A few days after their arrest, a government official alleged that members of the group would be given male hormone injections, though this claim was later denied by another government spokesperson. Police allegedly beat the men again when they were in custody with the aim of forcing them to confess their homosexual conduct. It is also reported that some members of the group were subjected to invasive forensic examinations in an effort to prove their homosexuality.

In a trial in February 2006, 12 of the 26 men, including almost all of those who were subjected to invasive bodily examinations, were sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on charges relating to homosexuality and obscenity, while a thirteenth man received a lighter sentence. Their case is now pending appeal, which should take place on 14 March 2006. The other 13 men arrested were reportedly prosecuted and acquitted. It is the understanding of the Special Rapporteurs that the law of the United Arab Emirates stipulates that a person can only be found guilty of homosexuality if four witnesses unanimously agree that they saw the act or if one of the participants confesses. In this case, it is reported that no witnesses testified against the defendants and that there was no other indication that any of them had engaged in homosexual conduct together. On the other hand, according to the information received, the alleged confessions presented as evidence were extracted under invasive forensic examinations which could amount to torture and could therefore not be used as an evidence for a conviction.

Link to full text of the report: Summary of cases-SR Independence of Judiciary-2003-eng