British-Mexican gay man sentenced in Qatar following Grindr ‘honeytrap’

A British-Mexican gay man in Qatar has been given a suspended prison sentence, fined and ordered to be deported, after allegedly being detained following a Grindr ‘sting’.

Former British Airways manager Manuel Guerrero Aviña, 44, has been held in the country since February.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and the nation offers no protection from LGBTQ+ discrimination, according to the equality ratings site Equaldex.

Aviña’s family claim Qatari police used “a false Grindr profile” as part of a “honeytrap operation” by inviting him to a meeting with other LGBTQ+ people in the city of Doha.

Aviña denied all charges

Aviña’s arrest by plain-clothed security officers followed him arranging to meet a man through the gay dating app. He was charged with possession of drugs and other drug-related offences – all of which he denied.

On Tuesday (4 June), a judge handed down a six-month suspended sentence.

The Mexican government later said Aviña would not have to serve time if he agreed to pay a fine of 10,000 Qatari Riyals (£2,150) and was deported from the country. However, the BBC reported that prosecutors have up to 30 days to appeal against the sentence, meaning he can’t leave immediately, even if he were to accept the verdict.

In a statement posted on an Instagram page supporting him, Aviña wrote: “I am deeply disappointed with yesterday’s unfair verdict, issued in spite of the violations of due process during the detention and trial, which included torture and mistreatment to pressure me into revealing the names of gay partners.”

‘Inhumane living conditions’

Aviña went on to claim he had been forced to use his fingerprint to sign several documents in Arabic without a translator.

He said he was denied a lawyer and translator during the preliminary hearing and was kept in “inhumane living conditions for 44 days”.

He added: “The Qatari authorities have convicted me because I am gay, and this is a breach of my human rights.

“Although I welcome the fact that I can leave the country, I still condemn the unfair trial I have been subjected to and the torture and ill-treatment I endured during my preliminary detention.

“I urge the UK and Mexican governments to raise concerns with the relevant Qatari authorities about the unfair trial and the violations of due process.”

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