Emirates' Interior Ministry denies plans to treat gays

The Interior Ministry has denied a report that 25 gays who were detained at what police called a mass homosexual wedding would be treated with male hormones. The "judiciary, as an independent entity, is the only body that has the right to issue the appropriate verdicts based on the laws of the United Arab Emirates," the Interior Ministry said in a statement issued Tuesday and reported by the official Emirates News Agency Wednesday.

"The ministry is not the specialized department to issue punishments or the type of treatment," the statement added.

An Interior Ministry official had said previously that some of the detainees faced treatment with male hormones as part of any possible conviction and sentencing. On Wednesday, another ministry official said the official quoted on hormone treatment had not been authorized to speak about the matter. The U.S. State Department has warned the Emirates government that any attempt to treat the detainees, such as with male hormones, would violate international law.

Police raided a hotel chalet near Abu Dhabi earlier this month and arrested 22 Emirati men and three Arabs from neighboring countries, the Interior Ministry said Saturday. Police reported finding a dozen men dressed as brides and a dozen others in male Arab dress, apparently preparing for a mock marriage ceremony.

The authorities said the detainees, some of whom had been arrested before, are likely to be tried on charges related to adultery and prostitution.

In condemning the arrests, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement Monday: "We call on the government of the United Arab Emirates to immediately stop any ordered hormone and psychological treatment and to comply with the standards of international law."

Outward homosexual behavior is banned in the United Arab Emirates and most other Arab countries, reports the AP. I.L.

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