Local NGOs Condemn Arrest of 27 over 'Homosexual Acts'


A group of NGOs has condemned local police for arresting 27 men at a Beirut bathhouse over allegations of homosexual acts and "public indecency".

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the groups said 27 men were being held by police after being arrested at a Beirut hammam on August 9 and questioned about their sexual orientation.

The groups, including gay rights NGO Helem, said those arrested included the bathhouse owner, his employees and several clients.

"The raid followed the arrest of an individual who pointed to the Agha Hammam as a gathering place for men who are seeking sexual encounters with other men," the statement said.

The general prosecutor told the groups that the men could face charges of "public indecency," although he was "not interested" in charging them with violating Article 534, which prohibits sexual relations that "contradict the laws of nature".

Gay and human rights groups have campaigned for the abolition of the article, which they say is used to discriminate against homosexuals.

Police told the groups that "investigators were able to obtain confirmations from some of the detainees concerning their sexual orientation," though they insisted no force was used.

The statement from the groups said no public sex act was taking place at the time of the police raid on the bathhouse and "the investigation at the police station revolved mainly around the detainees' alleged homosexuality."

"We denounce this incident as a case of homophobic practice that aims to police the sexual rights and liberties of the individuals involved," the groups said.

They called on the general prosecutor and the police holding the men to respect their dignity and warned against the use of a controversial "anal test" often used by police in Lebanon to determine homosexuality in men.

The tests have been denounced by human rights groups as abusive and described as scientifically groundless by medical professionals.

Lebanon is considered the most liberal country in the Arab world on the question of gay rights, with Beirut-based Helem the only NGO to advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the Arab world.

But local laws remain conservative, as does much of society on the question of homosexual relations, and police have regularly rounded up gay men at nightclubs and other gay-friendly venues.

Comments 19
Thumb ice-man 13 August 2014, 17:09

even if it is between southern and flamethrower?

Thumb cedars2 13 August 2014, 18:43

Wahahahaha ice man!!! Too funny man!!

Thumb cedars2 13 August 2014, 18:43

Wahahahaha ice man!!! Too funny man!!

Thumb cedars2 13 August 2014, 18:44

Wahahahaha ice man!!! Too funny man!!

Thumb ex-fpm 13 August 2014, 19:05

rofl iceman!

Thumb cityboy 13 August 2014, 19:11

what a lame joke by the way, good to see your sad followers find it funny. I wouldnt expect anything less from them.

Thumb _mowaten_ 13 August 2014, 17:10

Walla bravo ISF, instead of doing something about terrorists, murderers, thieves and other criminals, you're squandering public funds and resources on these harmless people.

Thumb EagleDawn 13 August 2014, 17:13

but if army intelligence arrested them, it will be an act of national heroism.

Missing lebonknees4peace 13 August 2014, 17:28

Go fight the terrorists on the border with Syria than worry about these harmless people. At least they make love and not war!

Default-user-icon change it (Guest) 13 August 2014, 17:53

the anger is misdirected. the isf is moving to uphold the law, it's up to politicians to change it. will they have the courage to do so or to support such a change?

Thumb cityboy 13 August 2014, 18:24

It is no surprise that the NGO have quickly jumped on this issue. I dont trust NGO, often their members are infiltrated with agents with ulterior motives.

Thumb cityboy 13 August 2014, 18:25

It is a much bigger and complicated issue than what appears on the surface.

Default-user-icon citymowaten (Guest) 13 August 2014, 18:59

lol you disagree with yourself lol

Default-user-icon Pitong Bulzado (Guest) 13 August 2014, 22:57

I heard that Sami Gemayel, Nadim Gemayel, George Adwan and Elie Marouni were among those who were about to be arrested had it not been for the immunity.

Missing ulpianus 14 August 2014, 01:01

Our ministers should hold their session in Beirut hammam.

.....and hey. Who cares what they are doing. We have bigger problems in Lebanon...

Thumb geha 14 August 2014, 03:55

live and let live

Thumb liberty 14 August 2014, 07:24

in portugal

Default-user-icon rami (Guest) 14 August 2014, 07:48

so stop acting as a moderator and mass reporting comments that make you look foolish

Default-user-icon Piotr (Guest) 14 August 2014, 08:11

Meanwhile, in a more civilized advanced country on this same planet...