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Lebanon News

Two Lebanese detained on suspicion of engaging in homosexual acts

BEIRUT: Two Lebanese were detained Thursday night on suspicion of engaging in homosexual acts in Ashrafieh, security sources told The Daily Star.

The men, aged 42 and 22, were caught "carrying out indecent acts" in a vehicle, sources added.

They were referred to the Vice Squad of the Judicial Police.

Under Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code, sexual relations "contradicting the laws of nature" are illegal and violators may be punished by up to one year in prison.

Late last month 35 men were arrested during a raid on a porn cinema in Burj Hammoud under suspicion of being homosexual. All of the men were subjected to controversial anal examinations, and three were later charged.

Following the widespread outcry following the incident, the Order of Physicians informed doctors that they would face disciplinary measures should they continue to carry out the procedure.

“The practice is humiliating and is torture in violation of the [United Nations] Convention Against Torture. Therefore, we ask you to avoid carrying out any similar action under penalty of disciplinary prosecution,” read the circular, signed by the head of the Order, Sharaf Abu Sharaf.

Also, Human Rights Watch last week issued a report entitled “Lebanon: Stop ‘Tests of Shame’” which urged the Justice Ministry to follow the Order of Physicians in issuing a directive ordering an end to anal examinations and Lebanese authorities to drop all charges against those arrested in the cinema raid.

“Forensic anal examinations of men suspected of homosexual contact, conducted in detention, constitute degrading and humiliating treatment,” said Rasha Moumneh, a Middle East and North Africa researcher at HRW. “These ‘tests of shame,’ as local activists call them, should stop immediately – the state has no business punishing and degrading its citizens for consensual sexual conduct.”

The government should also repeal laws criminalizing consensual sex between adults, including Article 534, the report added.

 
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