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LGBTQ campaigner held in Qatar after protest

26 October 2022

Peter Tatchell Foundation

Peter Tatchell in Qatar

Peter Tatchell in Qatar

THE human-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell says that he was arrested and briefly detained in Qatar on Tuesday, after a demonstration against the Gulf state’s treatment of LGBTQ+ people.

In a post on Twitter, Jayne Ozanne, who campaigns for LGBTQ rights in the Church of England, asked people to pray for Mr Tatchell.

In a video statement after his release, Mr Tatchell said that he also sought to draw attention to the abuse of the rights of women and migrant workers in Qatar, as it prepares to host the football World Cup.

A spokesperson for the Qatari government disputed Mr Tatchell’s version of events, and denied that he had been arrested or detained.

The Qatari government communications office told PinkNews that “an individual standing in a traffic roundabout was cordially and professionally asked to move to the sidewalk, no arrests were made.”

In response, Mr Tatchell said in a statement: “It’s a shame the Qatari government is trying to deflect attention from their diabolical human-rights abuses by misrepresenting a peaceful protester.”

Human rights in Qatar have been in the spotlight as final preparations are made for the World Cup, which starts on 20 November.

On Wednesday, the newly reappointed foreign secretary, James Cleverly, was criticised for saying that gay fans would be safe in Qatar “with a little bit of flex and compromise at both ends”.

The Labour MP and shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary, Lucy Powell, said that Cleverly’s comments were “shockingly tone-deaf”.

The Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has said that he would not attend the final of the World Cup in Qatar, even if England were playing.

In a post on Twitter, the Revd Dr Charlie Bell, who is an assistant priest at St John the Divine, Kennington, described Mr Cleverly’s comments as “pathetic”.

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