Tuesday, November 08, 2005

SAUDI ARABIA: POLICE BREAK UP GAY BEAUTY CONTEST

Riyadh, 7 Nov. (AKI) - Police in Saudi Arabia have broken up a beauty contest for gay men at al-Qatif on the east coast of the kingdom, arresting five men previously arrested less than six months ago for the same offence. The men were preparing to stage the competition on Thursday night, the first day of the Muslim festival Eid al-Fitr, when police raided the hotel they were in, forcing many contestants and guests to flee, leaving behind shoes and head scarves.

Some 80 people had been expected to attend the pageant, and police found large numbers of evaluation sheets, used to assess the contestant on attributes such as their height, weight, hip contour and skin colour, Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported this week. They also found large quantities of beauty products and make-up, lingerie, sex toys and aphrodisiacs.

Four Asians, thought to be the event's organisers, were arrested in the raid, along with a Saudi national. Police are reported to have been tipped off about the contest months ago.

Several months ago police arrested 92 people in a raid on a gay party in al-Qatif. Many were wearing women's clothes and make-up, and some wore wigs. So far none of them have been sentenced in court.

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