Lebanon News

Banned anal exam still being used as homosexuality test

File - "Stop Homophobia," a graffiti reads in Beirut, Sunday, March 30, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Five new cases of a Lebanese doctor using a widely discredited “test” for homosexuality have emerged, despite clear previous instructions from the Lebanese Order of Physicians banning the use of an anal exam that it deemed to constitute “torture.”

The forensic doctor, who is identified only by his initials A.M. in this month’s edition of the “Legal Agenda,” was hired by the judicial police’s Moral Protection Bureau in January to determine the sexuality of five Lebanese and Syrian men accused of being gay, which remains a criminal offense in Lebanon. The men had not committed any other crime, according to Legal Agenda Editor Nizar Saghieh.

“We are asking the Order of Physicians to sue him [the doctor] for professional misconduct,” attorney Saghieh told The Daily Star.

“There are many sanctions available, so it is up to the people who are hearing this case to decide on what is adequate.”

The Order of Physicians was not immediately available for comment.

Saghieh added that it was impossible to say whether other cases were also going unreported: “I cannot exclude the possibility,” he said.

The test, which was common until recent years, involves inserting an egg-shaped metal object into the rectum and has been derided as useless and akin to rape. Its last publicized usage was on 35 men detained after a raid on a porn cinema in Burj Hammoud in July 2012.

An Order of Physicians circular issued a month later forbade doctors from conducting the intrusive exam and declared, “Such techniques do not give the desired result and constitute a gross violation of the rights of persons who are subject to it without their consent. ... The practice is humiliating and is torture in violation of the [United Nations] Convention Against Torture.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 16, 2014, on page 4.




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