On Jun 26, 2016 Gulf News reported: Manama: Saudi security authorities have arrested four gay men in the capital Riyadh after they raided the flat where they were living as married couples.
Acting on tips about the men living together after they held wedding parties attended by other homosexuals, members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the religious police, headed to the flat in Al Quds neighbourhood, Saudi news site Sabq reported on Tuesday, citing sources close to the Commission.
“As the religious police members arrived at the flat, they were spotted by two of the gays who tried to get rid of the fake breasts they were wearing”, the sources said. “The Commission members arrested and then detained the other two gays inside the flat. The four admitted they were living as ‘married couples’. The first couple said that they got married two days earlier at a recreational facility south of Riyadh and that they were still on their honeymoon. The second couple said they celebrated their marriage last week. The four said they used the flat as their residence.”
According to the report, three of the detainees were unmarried and one, 28, was married.
The sources added that the Commission found on the mobiles of the detainees several pictures and clips of the wedding parties and of the guests wearing women’s clothes and make-up.
“Several women’s dresses, bags, shoes, wigs, fake breasts as well as four bottles of locally produced liquor were found during a search of the flat,” the sources said.
Reports about the gay wedding parties went viral on Monday on Saudi media platforms, and several users claimed they were held in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah, prompting the local police to issue a formal denial.
“The reports about gay weddings in Jeddah are baseless and lack credibility,” the spokesperson for the police said. “The security authorities do not have any record of such a case, and we urge people to verify their information with the official and trustworthy sources before they disseminate them,” Ati Al Qarshi said.
Homosexuality and cross-dressing are socially taboo and legal offences in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Reactions from social media users to the raids mostly touched on the need to mete out tough punishment to those found to be involved so that it would act as a strong deterrent. Some users even suggested that those who took part in the party be secluded for five years in remote areas.