BAHRAIN: Gay Partygoers On Trial
As Bahrain continues to be roiled by widespread civil unrest, the trial has begun for some of the 127 men arrested earlier this month at a purported "gay party." Gay Middle East reports:
Al Wasat News reported today that court proceedings commenced against 52 men who were arrested on the third of February. 49 of the 52 defendants attended the court proceeding, while two are fugitives, and one, who was released on bail, failed to appear before the fifth branch of lower criminal court of Bahrain. Al Wasat reports that 40 of the men are gay while the rest were involved in the running of the party. The men were not named but given numbers. Since there is no law against homosexuality in Bahrain the 40 defendants nevertheless were charged with incitement to immorality/debauchery and prostitution. Of the 40, 29 were also charged with engaging in immoral behaviour "in public" by dressing up like women and dancing in public. Some were also charged with cannabis consumption and being drunk "in public."All of the defendants denied the accusations. GME notes that since the party was held in private, the charges of "offending public morality" should not apply.