Gay British-Mexican man jailed in Qatar for using Grindr pressured to ‘give names of sexual partners’

Manuel Guerrero Aviñ, right, and his brother Enrique (Image: Provided)
Manuel Guerrero Aviñ, right, and his brother Enrique (Image: Provided)

A dual British-Mexican citizen arrested in Qatar after falling victim to a police-led Grindr sting was pressured to reveal names of men he’s had sex with as a condition of his release from jail, it is claimed.

Manuel Guerrero Aviña, 44, was detained in the Middle Eastern country last month 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.

The ex-British Airways manager, who is HIV positive, is now out of prison but faces prosecution, according to his brother. He is banned from leaving the country and is about to run out of antiretroviral medication.

“We need the support and solidarity of the LGBT community” – Manuel’s brother, Enrique

Speaking to Attitude last week, Enrique Guerrero Aviña said: “Manuel was released, but the investigation continues. He has a travel ban. The medical situation is not solved. At this moment, Manuel is taking his own antiretroviral, but we only have nine days’ more of the doses.”

“He is very affected by the torture, the post-traumatic stress, but he has hope that with the solidarity of the LGBTQ community and organisations worldwide, and everything we are doing, that we can reach freedom and justice,” added Enrique. “But he’s worried about his health, and access to medicine.”

Enrique points out that “suspending and then taking the antiretroviral is very dangerous, as that can generate resistance to the medicine.”

Enrique alleges that, while in prison, Manuel’s HIV medication was withheld “to create psychological pressure.”

“They made an intervention to know the names of Manuel’s sexual partners,” he added, later qualifying that Manuel did not give over names. “That was before the release. That act of torture was documented by the UK embassy. It’s like the trial of another century.”

“The prosecutor could take him to a trial,” Enrique furthermore explained, adding his brother “needs to be repatriated. The UK government can do it, but we need the decision to be made.

“We need the support and solidarity of the LGBT community and the British citizens to make more pressure. The UK government can make more effort to save the life of Manuel and to bring him home. He’s a British citizen.

“The UK government know about the case, the situation, and that Manuel does not have access to a fair trial. Manuel was 38 days without a lawyer and without a translator. Until this day, the lawyer doesn’t have access to the files. That’s not fair.”

“Like a trial of another century”

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

“The Qatari government thinks HIV is a criminal network,” Enrique says. “They want to know the names of sexual partners to go for them. It’s terrible.”

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.

Correction: On 4 April, this article was updated to clarify that, although pressured to, Manuel did not hand over the names of his sexual partners.

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