The United Arab Emirates LGBT rights group says that it has received reports that around 30 men thought to be gay were arrested at a private party in Dubai.

The party was being held at the Shangri La Hotel on March 9 when police raided the venue at around 5am.

The men were taken into custody for questioning, reports

It’s believed that some of those who were arrested are from prominent Emirati families.

There are few other details about the arrests and it remains unclear if the men have been released or if any charges have been pressed.

“It was a private party in a private hired space where people were behaving and not even engaging in any public display of affection, so I can’t imagine why they got arrested,” said Adilah, a lesbian member of UAE LGBT, to the Gay Middle East site.

“We waited a few days to see if it would get a note in the press. It didn’t as the authorities knew it would create uproar. We only knew that they were kept in detention for a few days, but have no idea if they are still locked up.

“The boys risk huge consequences and discriminations in their future careers if their names get out, not to mention the lives of some of them are at risk if their families are conservatives, as it may lead to so called ‘honour killings’,” she said.

Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE, which includes the emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah and Sharjah.

Punishment includes imprisonment, fines, deportation, and the death penalty as well as hormone treatment and chemical castration.

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