Security forces in Qatar have been arbitrarily arresting and abusing LGBT Qataris as recently as last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

The report comes weeks before the Gulf Arab state will host the meeting 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup.

HRW said it interviewed six LGBTQ Qataris, including four transgender women, one bisexual woman and one gay man, who said they were detained between 2019 and 2022.

They said they were held without charge in an underground prison in Doha and subjected to verbal and physical abuse, including kicking and punching.

One person said they were held in solitary confinement for two months.

“All six said the police forced them to sign pledges that they would ‘stop immoral activities,'” HRW reported.

The group added that incarcerated transgender women were forced to attend conversion therapy sessions at a government-funded clinic.

One Qatari transgender woman interviewed by HRW told Reuters that she had been arrested several times, most recently this summer when she was held for several weeks.

Authorities stopped her because of her appearance or because she was wearing makeup, the woman said, adding that she was beaten until she bled and had her head shaved.

Read more:
Lineker says he knows two gay Premier League stars and hopes they come to Qatar World Cup
England and Wales reflect football’s sensitive approach to World Cup infringements

Use Chrome for a more accessible video player

Gay World Cup fans can hold hands

A Qatari official said in a statement that HRW’s allegations “contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false.”

He added: “Qatar does not discriminate against anyone and our policies and procedures are based on a commitment to human rights for all.

“The Qatari government does not operate or license any ‘conversion centers’.

“The rehabilitation clinic mentioned in the report supports people suffering from behavioral conditions such as substance abuse, eating and mood disorders and operates according to the highest international medical standards.”

Cleaned up photo of Harry Kane's One Love headband via Thomas Driscoll
Harry Kane promotes the inclusive campaign One Love

Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country and some soccer stars have expressed concern about the rights of fans traveling to the event.

The organizers of the World Cup, which starts on November 20 and is the first in the Middle Eastern country, say that everyone is welcome, regardless of their sexual orientation and origin, and warn against public displays of affection.