A protest, set for this Friday in London, aims to bring attention to the plight of two men in Saudi Arabia sentenced to 7000 lashes for being gay.

On 2 October, two young men in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Bahah were reportedly convicted of ‘sodomy’ and sentenced to 7,000 lashes. In Saudi Arabia same-sex relations are illegal and the maximum penalty is death.

To protest against the persecution of LGBT people in Saudi Arabia, the UK’s National Union of Students LGBT campaign is organising a rally outside the Saudi Embassy in London this Friday. The protest is supported by LGBT human rights group OutRage! Peter Tatchell is a guest speaker.

“7,000 lashes is a form of torture, calculated to cause maximum, prolonged suffering. So many lashes can be fatal, depending on how many are delivered at any one time,” said OutRage! in a statement.

The protest comes ahead of the State Visit to the UK by King Abdullah bin Abdul Azaz al Saud at the end of the month.

According to Tatchell, “The British and US governments support the despotic, corrupt Saudi regime. As well as flogging and executing gay people, the Saudi leaders are guilty of detention without trial, torture and the public beheading women who have sex outside of marriage. Migrant workers are de facto slaves. The media is heavily censored. Trade unions, political parties and non-Muslim religions are banned. The country is a theocratic police state.”

“We call on individuals and groups, LGBT or otherwise, to protest against the continued criminalisation, imprisonment, torture and murder of LGBT people in Saudi Arabia,” said Scott Cuthbertson, NUS LGBT Officer.

The protestors will hand over a letter of protest to the Saudi Ambassador, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, calling on his government to respect the human rights of its LGBT citizens.

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