Outrage as Two Gay Men Beaten by Lebanese Army in Achrafieh

ALEF human rights group joins condemnation



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BEIRUT, January 25, 2009  –  The gay community in Lebanon is angry this weekend.  And so are human rights groups, according to two local French language web sites.

The anger is over the savage public beating of two men by soldiers in Sassine Square, Achrafieh in eastern part of Beirut, on Thursday evening.

The two men, thinking they were out of sight, were “engaged in lovemaking, in the lobby of an uninhabited building”, L’Orient Le Jour website reports.  The website of LGBT rights group Helem carries the same French language report.

Discovering the two men in action, the Lebanese army soldiers subjected the pair to a summary beating in the street.

The report said that the two men were subject to “punching, kicking, rifle butts, insults, humiliation”, says the report which was originated by the ALEF (Association Libanaise pour lEducation et la Formation) human rights group..

The beating only ends when bystanders start condemning the action by the Army.

Held overnight by troops, the two men were reported transferred to the Hobeiche barracks, on the order of Attorney General.

Barracks, as L’Orient Le Jour notes, is “known not to be particularly kind to prisoners”.

ALEF notes that “both men had sinned recklessly, even by mistake”.  But the group questions the “barbaric and unacceptable reaction of the soldiers facing the display of homosexuality”.

“But should we beat them and treat them like this?

“It is high time that the country’s lawmakers are looking at an obsolete law, ridiculous and totally from another era, that condemns and punishes homosexuality in Lebanon.

“At a time when gay marriage is permitted in many countries, the authorities hypocritically deny the simplest expression of a reality that [exists],” ALEF says.


Original report of this incident (in French) can be read on the Helem or L’Orient Le Jour websites

Lebanese Gay Group Helem Wins 2009 Felipa de Souza Award.  Helem, the first organisation in the Arab world to set up a gay and lesbian community centre, has won this year’s Felipa de Souza Award, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) announced today.  (UK Gay News, January 23, 2008)





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Posted: 25 January 2009 at 20:00 (UK time)


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