The Case of Manuel Guerrero : Relatives Demand His Repatriation

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Manuel Guerrero request repatriation

Detention and Legal Issues

Manuel Guerrero, a 44-year-old employee of Qatar Airways living in Qatar for the past seven years, finds himself in a complex legal predicament. In February, he fell victim to a police sting operation on the Grindr app. Believing he was meeting someone, he was arrested and placed in pre-trial detention in Doha on February 4. The tactic of trapping gay men through dating apps is common in several Arab countries. Manuel, who is HIV positive, is also running out of antiretroviral treatment—a dire situation highlighted by his brother, Enrique Guerrero.

Detention Conditions and International Reactions

During his detention, Manuel was isolated and denied his medications, compounded by the language barrier, being forced to sign documents in Arabic without translation or legal assistance. This situation has drawn international reactions, and under pressure, the Qatari government released Manuel in mid-March. However, he remains in the emirate awaiting his trial scheduled for April 22, without formal charges, which are said to include drug possession and homosexuality—both severely punished offenses in Qatar.

Calls for Help and Mobilization

Manuel’s family, with the support of several NGOs and an online campaign under the hashtag #QatarMustFreeManuel, advocates for his safe return, particularly due to his inability to work and the high cost of living in Qatar. His brother has also denounced the post-traumatic stress and other abuses Manuel suffered during his detention. Despite requests for assistance, responses from British authorities have been limited to statements of support without concrete actions.

Response from Grindr and User Safety

Grindr has expressed outrage over Manuel Guerrero’s situation and has enhanced its security measures for users in Qatar, warning about risks and advising users to verify identities through video calls before meeting. This case highlights the dangers posed by the misuse of digital platforms by authorities to persecute the LGBTQI+ community in certain countries.

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