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Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, A/HRC/4/33/Add.1, 20 March 2007: United Arab Emirates

United Ara Emirates, Date: 13/03/06

317. 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. On 22 November 2005, police raided a villa in Ghantout and arrested twenty-six men. The police apparently acted in response to allegations that the men were carrying out homosexual acts and that some of the men were wearing women’s clothing or make-up. During the  raid,  police  punched,  kicked  and  beat some of the men.

A few days after their arrest, a government official alleged that the men would be subjected to male hormone injections, although this claim  was  later  denied  by another government spokesperson. The police beat the men while they were in custody with the aim of forcing them to confess to homosexual conduct. Some members of the group were subjected to invasive forensic examinations in an effort to prove their homosexuality. In a trial in February 2006, twelve of the twenty-six men, including almost all of those who had endured invasive examinations, were sentenced to six years of imprisonment on  charges relating to homosexuality and obscenity under a Sharia-based law, while a thirteenth was sentenced to a lesser sentence. Their case is now pending appeal, which should take place on 14 March 2006. The other thirteen men arrested were acquitted. The law of the United Arab Emirates stipulates that a person can only be found guilty of homosexuality if four witnesses unanimously agree they saw the act or if the accused confesses.

It is reported  that  no witnesses testified against the defendants and that there was no other indication that they had engaged in homosexual conduct. The alleged confessions, which were presented as evidence, were extracted under  invasive  forensic  examinations which could amount to torture  or ill- treatment.

Link to full text of the report: Summary of cases-SR Torture-2007-eng