An unusual case has just been opened by the prosecutor’s office in Vesoul, France. Ibrahim Godin, a French influencer, has just filed a complaint after being expelled from Dubai airport by local authorities. The 21-year-old, followed by 600,000 people on Snapchat and TikTok, is convinced he was taken by a homosexual by the policeman he had to deal with. “It’s not normal!”, He disputes.
The facts took place in mid-May. Accompanied by another influencer friend, Ibrahim Godin decided to go to Dubai, a flagship destination for social media stars for several years now. “My passport was valid, I had done a PCR test, but a customs officer told me to go to the immigration office to obtain a visa” , he recalls in an interview with franceinfo. The young man will remain alone in this room for seven hours, without eating or drinking. He is finally set on his fate when a policeman announces his expulsion from the United Arab Emirates. No reason is given to him at the time.
As he is being escorted to the plane responsible for bringing him back to France, Ibrahim explains that the police officer is calling him. ” Wasn’t the guy who was with you more like your boyfriend?”, he asks according to the influencer. Words that deeply shocked him. “It’s stupid! When we deport someone, it’s because he’s dangerous or he’s not in good standing, not because he loves a woman or a man”, he protests.
Not “all beautiful all pink”
Still in the dark about the official reason for his expulsion, Ibrahim Godin hopes to have an answer thanks to his complaint. But if the young influencer has decided to make his misadventure public, it is mainly because he wants to do prevention towards those who wish to visit the country. “Dubai is not all pretty, all pink as we see on social networks”, he concludes.
The country has already been singled out by numerous reports from human rights associations. The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) recalls, in a map published in December 2020, that homosexuality is still prohibited in the country. LGBTQI+ people face the death penalty there under Sharia, Islamic law. “There is no evidence that this sentence has been used against LGBT people”however, specifies Human Dignity Trust, an international organization which uses the law to defend the human rights of LGBT people.
In its 2021 report, Amnesty International denounces serious human rights violations committed by the authorities throughout the year. “In particular arbitrary detentions, cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees, repression of freedom of expression and attacks on respect for private life. The NGO also points the finger at the partial respect of the right to health and the attitude of the authorities towards stateless people, deprived of the right to a nationality and therefore prevented from accessing certain public services. “Courts passed death sentences and executions took place “, notes the report.
Human Rights Watch says UAE authorities continue to invest in a “soft power” strategy to portray the country as progressive, tolerant, and rights-respecting. “The United Arab Emirates continues to prevent representatives of international human rights organizations and United Nations experts from carrying out independent research in the country and from visiting prisons and detention centers” adds the association.