A gay British man has returned to the UK after he was arrested, beaten and threatened with execution while working in Saudi Arabia.
Stephen Comiskey, 36, was in the country on contract as a nurse for the King Fahad National Guard Hospital in Riyadh when he was targeted.
According to The Sun, Comiskey was lured to an ambush spot with text messages from religious police – known as the ‘mutaween’ – who posed as a friend of his.
He was allegedly beaten and thrown into a jail cell on charges of homosexual conduct under Islamic Sharia religious law.
He was also allegedly throttled into signing a confession and threatened with beheading.
“You have to understand Sharia law to know what I’ve been through. I’ve learned that you don’t mess with these people – you cannot offend their culture or their law,” Comiskey told the newspaper.
After six months and diplomatic negotiations between the two countries, he was finally allowed to return to the UK.
There has been speculation that Comiskey’s arrest was in retaliation for last year’s UK trial of Saudi Prince saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, who was accused of murdering his male servant who was also his lover.
Saudi Arabia reportedly asked the British government not to allow the prince’s sexuality to be revealed in the trial, but this was refused. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Homosexuality and ‘cross-dressing’ are illegal in Saudi Arabia with possible penalties including jail time, flogging and execution.