Gay Man Jailed in Qatar Provisionally Freed Pending Investigation


Manuel Guerrero Aviña, who was jailed in Qatar for being gay, remains under investigation (Photos: #QatarMustFreeManuel / X)

A gay British-Mexican, who was entrapped by police in Qatar on Grindr, has been provisionally released from prison after a global campaign for his freedom.

Manuel Guerrero Aviña was arrested and jailed in the capital Doha by local police after being lured to a meeting on 4 February.

A former British Airways manager, the 44-year-old was allegedly denied access to his ARV medication which, as a man living with HIV, put his health and life at risk.

A campaign to free Manuel was mounted by his brother, Enrique, and saw several protests in Mexico and the UK calling for his release.

On Monday, Enrique announced on social media that Manuel had been provisionally released from jail but, despite not being formally charged, still faces being prosecuted because of his sexuality.

He described the news as an important victory as it means that Manuel can continue his legal process in Qatar “out of the hands of those who have subjected him to torture away from those who have denied him his medication.”

He asserted, however, that it doesn’t resolve the root of the issue; the criminalisation of homosexuality and the continued investigation against his brother.

He revealed that Manuel had also not yet been provided with HIV medication but Enrique expressed hope that this would soon change.

He also thanked the global LGBT community, and British and Mexican diplomats for their solidarity and efforts. “Thank you for fighting alongside us and for shouting together with us that being gay is not a crime,” he said, adding in the caption that “the fight continues until he is back home free and without charges.”

Qatar’s Penal Code punishes same-sex relations with up to seven years in prison. Muslims convicted of homosexuality in sharia courts can be sentenced to death by stoning, although it’s thought to be rarely enforced.

In 2022, Human Rights Watch reported several horrific incidents in which security police in Qatar arrested and ill-treated LGBT people ahead of the nation’s controversial hosting of the World Cup that year.

A petition calling for Manuel Aviña’s freedom has received almost 23,000 signatures.

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