MEDINA, Saudi Arabia – A criminal court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a 24-year-old man to three years in jail and 450 lashes for trying to arrange a date with another man via Twitter.
According to the daily Aarabic newspaper Al-Watan, the court found the unidentified man guilty of “promoting the vice and practice of homosexuality.”
Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (religious police) entrapped the man after using the social media site to invite him to meet for a date.
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When he showed up at designated meeting space, he was arrested and his phone was confiscated. Police said the man’s phone contained “evidence for his homosexuality” and “indecent images.”
The accused reportedly confessed to the judge of using his Twitter account to meet other men, and for possession of “pornographic images of homosexual perversion.”
Homosexuality is frequently a taboo subject in Saudi Arabian society and is often punished with imprisonment, fines, corporal punishment, capital punishment, whipping/flogging, and chemical castrations. The severity of punishment depends mostly on religious Sunni judges and scholars, as well as royal decrees.
Article continues below“It is infuriating and disheartening when a country that was elected not too long ago to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), arrogantly and nonchalantly violates its core principles and harms its own citizens,” said Abdulla, chair of the United Arab Emirates LGBT group.
“Not only this is the fundamental human right for privacy is breached but the entrapment and sentence also breaches several human rights charters,” he told LGBTQ Nation. “If the man survives this ordeal he will find himself an outcast and will be in danger for life after he completes this harsh sentence.”
The court ordered that the 450 lashes would be given over 15 sessions.