Members of Qatar's LGBTQ+ community were detained and abused last month, according to a report.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, members of Qatar's LGBTQ+ community were detained and physically abused by the country's security services as recently as last month.
Qatar's treatment of the community is under scrutiny as the country prepares to host the men's World Cup, which begins on November 20.
Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar, and HRW claims that officers from the Qatar Preventive Security Department arbitrarily arrested members of the LGBTQ+ community and mistreated them in detention.
The Qatari government rejects the HRW report's content, claiming that its allegations are "categorically and unequivocally false."
Between 2019 and 2022, HRW documented six cases of severe and repeated beatings and five cases of sexual harassment in police custody. According to LGBTQ+ people interviewed by HRW, these practices were taking place as recently as September.
According to HRW, as a condition of their release, transgender women detainees were required to attend conversion therapy sessions at a government-sponsored facility.
"While Qatar prepares to host the World Cup, security forces are detaining and abusing LGBT people simply for who they are, apparently confident that the security force abuses will go unreported and unchecked," said Rasha Younes, an LGBTQ+ rights researcher at HRW.
"The authorities in Qatar must end the impunity for violence against LGBT people." "The entire world is watching."
HRW interviewed six people, including four transgender women, a bisexual woman, and a gay man, who all claimed they were detained in an underground prison in Doha and subjected to physical abuse ranging from slapping to kicking and being punched until they bled.
According to HRW, the detainees were also verbally abused and forced to make confessions, and they were denied access to legal counsel, family support, and medical care.
According to HRW, all were detained without charge, and one was held in solitary confinement for two months.
Younes went on to say, "The Qatari government should put an end to this abuse immediately, and FIFA should press the Qatari government to ensure long-term reform that protects LGBT people from discrimination and violence."
According to a Qatari government official: "The allegations contain categorically and unequivocally false information. Qatar does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and our policies and procedures are based on a commitment to human rights for all.
"Despite the Qatari government's commitment to work with Human Rights Watch and other critical groups, the allegations were not brought to our attention until they were widely publicized. We could have refuted the allegations if Human Rights Watch had contacted us.
"No 'conversion centers' are operated or licensed by the Qatari government." The rehabilitation clinic mentioned in the report helps people suffering from behavioral conditions like substance abuse, eating disorders, and mood disorders, and it adheres to the highest international medical standards.
"While we recognize Human Rights Watch's role in applying pressure on these issues, their decision to release demonstrably false information without first contacting our government to verify the findings and better understand Qatar's policies and standard procedures jeopardizes their self-proclaimed commitment to reporting the truth."
FIFA has been contacted for comment by All Sports News.
Meanwhile, a Three Lions Pride spokesperson told Sky Sports News: "This is disheartening and appalling, but it is not surprising.
"This reinforces our ongoing emphasis that the PR line of this being a "World Cup for all" is not true for our LGBT+ family, particularly those in Qatar.