Lebanon: 2 men assumed to be gay, tortured by police


Police in Lebanon last month arrested two men after being caught with half a gram of cannabis as they passed through a checkpoint towards Saida in the south.

According to Blog Baladi, the encounter quickly escalated as police began to demean the men (named Samer & Omar) in custody, verbally abusing the pair. After a drug test revealed that Samer and Omar had no trace of narcotics in their system, the officers announced they had found something in Samer’s phone.

A contact listed as ‘Habibi’ – an Arabic term for “my darling” or “my friend” – was what the officers had found. As a result, the police postulated that Samer must be gay, intensifying the ordeal once more.

Samer and Omar were beaten, water-boarded, electrocuted and violently coerced into naming their homosexual friends and drug dealers. Officers told Samer and Omar’s parents that their children were homosexual. When the parents arrived at the police station, the boys were kept away from their families as the police insisted they had not been harmed.

Samer and Omar were tortured for another 6 days in custody, later being transferred to Hobieche police in Beirut for another 5 days. In Hobieche, the boys shared a 20sqm cell with more than 20 other men.

Upon leaving Hobieche, Samer and Omar returned to Saida where they spent 8 more days incarcerated. This time, the men were sent to the local prison, where officers ensured the prison population knew that Samer and Omar were gay. Omar has since been released after 3 weeks of detainment, paying a fee to be released. Samer remains in prison.

Shockingly, a Lebanese judge just last year ruled that homosexuality does not contradict the laws of nature, effectively decriminalising homosexuality in Lebanon. Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Nohad el Machnouk, is looking into the events.

Leigh Hill

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