Two men tortured and jailed for three weeks for being gay


two_men_tortured_arrested_three_weeks_lebanon_for_being_gayReports have emerged of the brutal detention and torture of two men in Lebanon for being gay.

According to L’Orient-Le Jour, the men, Omar*, a 30-year-old engineer, and Samer*, 25, were driving together in Southern Lebanon on 9 June when they were arrested, initially for drug possession.

At a military checkpoint, officers found half a gram of hashish on the younger man, which Omar claims he had no knowledge of.

They were tested for drugs and were subjected to an intensive interrogation. During their detention, police searched their phones and found messages to one another which they used to accuse the men of being gay.

Things then went from bad to worse and officers threatened to have them undergo anal exams. Omar told the newspaper that he and Samer allegedly went on to be punched and kicked, had their heads forced underwater and were electrocuted; all to force them to reveal both the identity of their dealer and to admit that they are gay.

“They wanted to know in detail what we did together, who did what in bed, in great detail,” said Omar.

Eventually the men “confessed” to being a couple and were forced to reveal a list of other members of the gay community. The police also called the men’s parents and informed them that their sons are gay.

Ironically, a sign in the police station read that, “Any use of force is prohibited during interrogations.”

Samer was accused of illicit drug use and homosexuality, while Omar was accused of homosexuality. After three weeks, Omar was released, followed later by Samer. It is unclear if they will face further prosecution.

“The worst has happened, I have nothing more to lose,” said Omar. “My father no longer speaks to me since he knew what happened, and I know that I was punished without having done any harm to anyone.

“This will not stop me from living my life as I see fit and I think I henceforth abhor all those in uniform,” Omar added.

An investigation has been launched into the torture allegations. A source said: “It is true that the law always condemns relations against nature in Lebanon, but this does not mean that torture is permitted against homosexuals.”

The Lebanese Penal Code prohibits having sexual relations that contradict “the laws of nature”, which is punishable by up to a year in prison.

The Lebanese authorities have been criticised in the past for forcing men accused of homosexuality to have anal exams. These tests were discredited by the Lebanese Order of Physicians in 2012, but there are reports that they have continued to be used.

* The men’s names were changed to avoid them being subjected to further discrimination and abuse.


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