A Canadian couple who stopped off in Dubai for a day’s shopping on their way back from a holiday in India, arrived back home this week, after spending a month locked up in prison.
Rocky Sharma described how airport police seized him and his long term boyfriend Stephen Macleod, after finding a bottle of prescription arthritis medication Celebrex in his luggage, despite both men presenting themselves separately at Immigration. Initially detained together in a filthy cell with 8 other prisoners for ten days, they were then separated and sent to separate prisons where ‘the bathroom conditions were just a hole in the ground for 200 people’, Rocky told Canadian queer portal Xtra.ca. The duo were eventually released several weeks later, though 11 days after being declared innocent by Dubai authorities, he added.
“They were definitely targeting people who are young, from the western world and nicely dressed, like they are going to party,’ Mr Sharma told the website.
“What people need to know is that we were stopped because they thought we were gay guys. They thought we might be carrying party drugs,” he added.
Homosexuality is strictly illegal in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates with Article 354 of UAE’s Federal Penal Code stating ‘whoever commits rape on a female or sodomy with a male shall be punished by death."
Speaking about the law in 2005, after 26 men were arrested at a party at an Abu Dhabi hotel, Mohammed bin Nukhaira Al Dhahiri, Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Auqaf was explicit.
“There will be no room for homosexual and queer acts in the UAE,” he vowed, “Our society does not accept queer behaviour, either in word or in action.”
http://m1e.net/c?79584633-VlntiO7z2BD5c%404655936-51hEFM0ryN8GU (‘Nightmare in Dubai for Toronto gay couple . . .’)
Article by Jonty Skrufff
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