Dubai at night
Dubai Police’s Commander-in-Chief has denied reports that 30 gay men were arrested at a private party at a hotel in the emirate.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) LGBT rights group had received reports that the men were held after a raid on the Shangri La Hotel on March 9.
Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, however, told Emirates 24|7 that the story is not true.
Nevertheless, he made it clear that homosexuality remains taboo in Dubai.
“Homosexuals and homosexuality exists in all countries of the world, but is prohibited in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as behaviour contrary to norms, customs, traditions and religion as well,” said Khalfan.
Adilah, a lesbian member of UAE LGBT, insisted that the group had first hand accounts of the arrests.
“My friends were at the party and it did happen, we now know that the hotel security staff tipped off the police who then proceeded with the arrests,” she told Gay Star News.
“People were released the following day after signing a testimonial they would ‘not do it again’, although two people we know of are still unaccounted for and may be still held in prison because of their sexuality.”
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.