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Gay British-Mexican man ‘denied HIV medication’ in Qatari jail after police-led Grindr sting

"He has been threatened, isolated and deprived of food and sufficient water because of his sexual orientation and health condition" adds Manuel Guerrero Aviña's brother

By Jamie Tabberer

A picture of the Qatar flag, and to the right, a head and shoulders picture of Manuel Guerrero Aviña
Manuel Guerrero Aviña (Images: Pexels/Manuel Guerrero Aviña)

Manuel Guerrero Aviña, a dual British-Mexican citizen, has been arrested in Qatar after falling victim to a police-led Grindr sting.

The former British Airways manager was detained on 4 February 2024 after replying to a fake message on the app.

Gay sex in the conservative Muslim country is punishable by up to seven years in prison, and carries the death penalty under Sharia law, although this is unenforced.

Family members allege Manuel is now being tortured in prison by being denied life-saving antiretroviral medicines for HIV.

“He has been threatened, isolated, deprived of food and sufficient water” – Manuel Guerrero Aviña’s brother

A Foreign Office spokesperson has confirmed in a statement: “We are providing consular assistance to a British man who is detained in Qatar and are supporting his family.”

Manuel’s brother Enrique has told The Mirror his brother has been arrested for “being gay”, adding: “Qatar police used a false Grindr profile to contact Manuel and invite him to participate in a meeting with other people from the LGBT community in the city of Doha.

“Manuel was supposed to meet a person he thought he had arranged an appointment with on the night of February 4 but instead encountered police officers who were waiting to arrest him arbitrarily.”

Enrique, now leading the QatarFreeManuel campaign, claims drugs were planted on his brother during the arrest.

“Forced to sign documents in Arabic”

“From the moment of his arrest, he has been the victim of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment as well of act of psychological torture,” Enrique added. “Authorities tried to force him to identify in his telephone contacts other members of the LGBT community as well as forcing him to witness the suffering of other detainees while they were whipped. He has been threatened, isolated, deprived of food and sufficient water because of his sexual orientation and health condition.

“He has been denied the right to a lawyer and has been forced to sign documents in Arabic without a translator to assist him. Even worse, he has been been prevented access to antiretroviral medicines he needs to be able to live with HIV, which constitutes an act of torture and puts his life at risk.”

A representative for the Mexican embassy in Qatar said in a statement it has been in “constant contact with his relatives and it has confirmed Manuel has legal representation. Given the arrested man has registered his residence in Qatar as a British national, the consulate of that country in Doha has been the entity recognised by the authorities in Qatar to carry out the relevant consular activities on his behalf. The Mexican Embassy will continue to follow the case along with the British Embassy in Doha, and will remain in contact with Manuel’s family.”

“Self-motivated and enthusiastic individual”

Manual has described himself on LinkedIn as living and working by “my personal motto: ‘Passion for Service’ – British and Mexican passport holder with a strong understanding of the airline business supported with 18 years of experience in a wide variety of roles in different airlines and a degree in business management. I am a strong team player, able to cooperate and work well with peers and senior managers alike to achieve common objectives. Self-motivated and enthusiastic individual with strong communication skills.”

Human rights abuses against LGBTQs in Qatar were put under a global spotlight in 2022, when the country hosted the World Cup.

Former Attitude cover star David Beckham’s ambassadorship for the country infamously led to mass criticism, including from Joe Lycett and Attitude editor Cliff Joannou.