Two men have been jailed for three years each for posing as male prostitutes over a social media network, WhosHere, and offering their dancing and sexual services for money in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Two men were caught after being monitored on the Internet and then entrapped in a hotel by a police agent posing as a client.
The Emirati defendants, known by their initials and age only, A.S. 22 year-old and A.H. 30 year-old, were found guilty of male prostitution and promoting their services on the Internet.
A.S. was charged with breaching public modesty by publishing profile photos wearing women’s clothes and using make up.
Prosecution said the defendants had been involved in similar cases in 2007.
The two accused were sentenced in absentia.
‘The defendants will be placed under police surveillance for three years’, said presiding judge Mohammad Jamal in the courtroom last week, according to the daily Gulf News.
Speaking with GSN, members of the country’s gay rights group, UAE LGBT, criticized the police’s practice and challenged the UAE to uphold human rights conventions.
Abdulla, the chair of the group said: ‘It is sad when people are dehumanized and the lines between them and true criminals are blurred.
‘So we have to speak out against this with great personal risk, because by the end of the day what hurts them hurts us too.
‘It seems like whenever an LGBT member is arrested now a days in the UAE they are quickly labeled ''Prostitute'', to justify it.
‘Where's the justice in sentencing young Emaratis to three years in jail, for being who they are?
‘What’s the use of the UAE being a member of the United Nations Human Rights Comission when its very own member ignores the organization’s calls for clemency?
‘There is pressure on us as LGBT Emiratis to break and retreat at every turn, but we do our part by raising awareness and initiating dialogue with society.
‘We do our part because we value reason and above all compassion and understanding.
‘The time is now for the UAE to do right, and stand by our obligations as a nation to human rights; the time is now to listen and do away with the cruel entrapment of young citizens, when time, energy and resources could be put to better use’.
Nasira, the director of the group commented: ‘Persecution and the harassment of citizens will never be an acceptable facet of law enforcement. The two cannot coexist.
‘The hunting down of LGBT citizens and punishing them for acts in which they have been coerced into is deplorable.
‘We think this is a pressing example for why a legislation that prohibits and investigates entrapment must be drafted and entered into force’.