Peter Tatchell 'arrested' while protesting against treatment of LGBT people in Qatar

The 70-year-old had been holding a placard reading: 'Qatar arrests, jails & subjects LGBTs to ‘conversion’ #QatarAntiGay'

Published Last updated

The Qatar government has hit back at claims that campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested while protesting against the country’s treatment of LGBT people in the run-up to the World Cup.

Mr Tatchell's charity had said that the campaigner was detained by the Qatari security services.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Mr Tatchell said he had subsequently been freed.

He said: "I have been freed by Qatar police after staging first LGBT+ protest in the homophobic Gulf state."

Peter Tatchell
Peter Tatchell
Qatar will host the football World Cup later this year
Qatar will host the football World Cup later this year

The Peter Tatchell Foundation said the human rights activist was detained near the national museum in Doha as he staged a demonstration against “one of the most homophobic regimes on Earth”.

The 70-year-old had been holding a placard reading: “Qatar arrests, jails & subjects LGBTs to ‘conversion’ #QatarAntiGay".

But the Qatar government have since hit back at the claims, saying: "Rumours on social media that a representative from the Peter Tatchell Foundation has been arrested in Qatar are completely false and without merit."

Two uniformed police officers and three plain clothes officials arrived at the scene, according to Reuters.

They folded up his placard and took photos of Mr Tatchell's passport and other papers, and those of a man accompanying him.

Police left after shaking hands with Mr Tatchell, who remained on the sidewalk.

Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, had earlier tweeted that he would be asking the embassy in London about his constituent on Thursday.

“I’ll be asking (the Qatar Embassy) about my constituent today and hope he is returned to the UK ASAP,” he said.

The foundation said in a press release: “A few minutes ago, Peter was seized by the Qatari security services while demonstrating in Doha against one of the most homophobic regimes on Earth.

“Qatar hosts the Fifa football World Cup in three weeks.

“He was arrested near Qatar’s national museum while staging the first ever public LGBT+ protest in Qatar or any Gulf state.”