Manuel Guerrero Aviña denied HIV treatment in Qatari jail after police-led Grindr trap

Manuel Guerrero Aviña, a dual British-Mexican citizen and former British Airways manager, finds himself detained in Qatar due to his sexual orientation. The shocking arrest occurred on 4th February, following his response to a fake message on the queer dating app Grindr. This incident sheds light on the harsh reality faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in a country where homosexuality is illegal, scoring a mere seven out of 100 on the LGBTQ+ rights scale, according to Equaldex.

Guerrero’s family claims that he has been subjected to life-threatening conditions in prison, alleging the refusal of life-saving HIV medication. His brother, Enrique, leading the QatarFreeManuel campaign, asserts that the 44-year-old was lured into a police-led Grindr trap using a false profile. Instead of the intended meeting with a fellow LGBTQ+ community member, Guerrero was met by law enforcement officers ready to make an arrest.

Enrique states, “From the moment of his arrest, he has been the victim of cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment as well as an act of psychological torture.” Shockingly, drugs were allegedly planted on Guerrero during the arrest, adding a distressing layer to an already troubling situation.

Campaigners advocating for Guerrero’s release argue that he has been coerced into identifying other members of the LGBTQ+ community, labeling his treatment as a severe violation of human rights. They claim that he has been denied access to legal representation, forced to sign documents in Arabic without translation, and, most alarmingly, prevented from obtaining antiretroviral medicines crucial for managing his HIV condition.

The Mexican Embassy in Qatar has confirmed that, as Guerrero registered as a British national when moving to work in Qatar, the British Embassy is handling the case. The embassy assures ongoing contact with his family, emphasizing that Guerrero has legal representation. The UK Foreign Office also affirms that consular assistance is being provided to the detained British man.

Guerrero, described as a dedicated professional with a passion for service, faces a perilous situation in Qatar, where he is enduring alleged threats, isolation, and deprivation of necessities due to his sexual orientation and health condition.

The global spotlight on LGBTQ+ rights abuses in Qatar intensified in 2022 during the World Cup, bringing the issue to the forefront of international discourse. Now, with Guerrero’s case gaining attention, LGBTQ+ activists are rallying for his release, demanding an end to the discriminatory practices faced by individuals based on their sexual orientation. The case underscores the urgent need for comprehensive legal protections and advocacy to combat discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.

Take action now and sign this petition launched by Nas Mohamed, the first openly gay Qatari, demanding safety and freedom for Manuel. This is not an isolated incident. Manuel’s story is a dark reminder of the hunting down and arrests of LGBT+ people taking place in Qatar. This includes a minimum of 20 cases of LGBT Qataris that have faced similar treatment since the summer of 2023.