Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (religious police) raided a gay marriage party with over 80 participants in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, arresting five men.
The religious police backed by policemen and detectives, stormed a house in Mecca that was said to have held a gay marriage ceremony, yesterday (12 June), reported Al-Saudeh daily.
Five men were detained while the rest managed to flee to nearby mountains.
According to the report, party participants were said to be aged between 18 and 20 year-old men ‘wearing women’s dresses and make up on their faces.
‘They were dancing to disco music at a noisy party held to mark the wedding of two men to each other…police are hunting down those who escaped.’
Generally speaking punishment range from imprisonment and/or flogging to the death penalty.
Conviction and severity of punishments depends on the social class, religion and citizenship of the accused, whereby non-western migrant workers receive usually harsher treatment than upper class Saudi citizens.
The religious police encourage reporting of any ‘deviant’ behavior and deliberately entrap people for being gay via the Internet and other technologies.
Last year the religious police arrested five gay men during a raid on a health club in the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh following a tip-off.
Entrapment by the religious police does not necessarily lead to prosecution, but often results in life-long financial and/or sexual blackmail.
Ali, a 31 year-old gay law student in Jeddah told Gay Star News: ‘I really hope the other men have managed to escape safely and will not be caught.
‘As for the five men who are detained, even if the would be released without facing court action their suffering will not end.
‘Once the Hay’ah [religious police] have your identity on record for being gay, you are very likely to face financial and even sexual blackmail.
‘If families hear that a member is gay it is not unheard of that they would attempt to kill the person in order to avoid being "shamed".
‘If word spreads to employer or the wider community, then not only the person is likely to loose his job but become a social pariah.’
Gay Star News has not yet been able to verify the case independently.