Gay British-Mexican man convicted in Qatar following police-led Grindr sting

Manuel Guerrero Aviña was arrested in February after reportedly being lured to a meeting point by police posing as a man named 'Gio' on Grindr.

A group of people holding a sign reading
Image: @fairsqprojects via X

A gay British-Mexican man who was arrested in Qatar earlier this year following an alleged police-led Grindr sting has received a suspended six-month prison sentence, alongside a fine of £2,100. The decision was delivered on Wednesday, June 4, at Al Sadd Criminal Court in the capital city, Doha.

According to reports, Manuel Guerrero Aviña was found guilty of being in possession of an illegal substance, and Qatari officials maintain that the 44-year-old’s arrest in February was due to drug offences and “no other factors were taken into account”. They added that tests, which Amnesty International described as “questionable”, found amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system, but Guerrero Aviña denies having taken any illegal substances.

The man’s family claims that drugs were planted in his apartment by police after he was targeted for his sexuality through a “honeytrap operation”. The airline worker, who had been living in Qatar for seven years without trouble, was reportedly lured to a meeting spot by authorities posing as a man named ‘Gio’ on the gay hookup app Grindr. 

Following his arrest, Guerrero Aviña was sent to a detention centre where he was allegedly denied access to a lawyer and antiretroviral HIV medication, and was forced to sign documents in Arabic without a translator. After 42 days, he was released on the condition that he hand over his passport.

His trial has been described as a “travesty of justice” by human rights group FairSquare and Amnesty International urged Qatar to overturn the “outrageous conviction”.

“There are serious fears that Guerrero Aviña was targeted for his sexual orientation and was coerced into providing the authorities with information that they could use to pursue a wider crackdown on LGBTI individuals in Qatar,” said Aya Majzoub, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Guerrero Aviña’s treatment in custody and his unfair trial was utterly horrific. Instead of convicting people after unfair proceedings, Qatar’s authorities must urgently end the discrimination and persecution of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identities and repeal all laws that discriminate against LGBTI people.”


Similarly, Deborah Gold, CEO of National AIDS Trust, stated: “Throughout this whole process of arrest, detention, and trial Manuel has been unable to have uninterrupted access to life-saving medication and proper tests and assessment. We are hugely concerned that he will not be able to access the ongoing medical care and treatment that is his human right while in Qatar. We urge the British government to do all it can to ensure Manuel’s health, rights, and wellbeing.”

Guerrero Aviña described the entire situation as a human rights breach, adding: “Although I welcome the fact that I can leave the country, I still condemn the unfair trial I have been subjected to and the torture and ill treatment I endured during my preliminary detention”.

In case he accepts the verdict, which he is considering appealing, and pays the fine, he will be able to leave Qatar. Qatari prosecutors similarly have 30 days to appeal the sentence, meaning Guerrero Aviña can’t leave the nation immediately even if he accepts the conviction.

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