Manama: A court in eastern Saudi Arabia has sentenced a homosexual man to three years in jail for engaging in “immoral acts”.
The man, in his 30s, was also ordered to pay a SR100,000 fine by the court in the port city Dammam in the Eastern Province.
According to a report in local news site Sabq, the man was apprehended by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice after he posted pictures of himself naked on social media and offered to have sex for free with other men. “Offensive” pictures and chats with other people were found on his confiscated mobile, Sabq said on Tuesday.
Homosexuality and cross-dressing are social and legal offences in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. Last month, police in Kuwait arrested 23 cross-dressers and homosexuals after they busted a “wild party” held at a chalet in the south of the country.
Lawmakers, wary of the growing number of gays in the country, have been pushing for a crackdown, including the adoption of tougher immigration measures against expatriate homosexuals and their prompt deportation.
Last year, a suggestion by a health official carried by a local daily to bar homosexual and transgender foreigners from working in the GCC raised a storm that eventually subdued for not reflecting an official policy.