Post submitted by Bo Suh, HRC Digital Media Intern
In the past week, police have raided two bathhouses and a private home in Lebanon, and threatened at least 40 men with jail or expulsion from the country.
The first raid occurred in Beirut last week after an arrested individual named a bathhouse as a meeting place for men to have sex with men. Police took 27 men into custody, including the owner and employees, and will likely charge them with “public indecency,” according to Gay Star News. However, there was no sexual activity occurring at the time of the raid, said five local advocacy groups. Six of the 27 men were released on Thursday, Huffington Post reports.
Lebanese police then raided a second bathhouse in the suburbs of Beirut. It is rumored that the entire staff was arrested, but only one man remains in police custody.
On Friday unconfirmed reports emerged that Lebanese police raided a private home in Tripoli on Thursday, with 17 arrests. It is unknown if those men are still detained or have been released.
A 2014 court decision found that same-sex conduct did not violate the Lebanese penal code provision prohibiting “acts against nature”. However, the decision does not have precedential value because Lebanon courts adhere to a civil law tradition.
According to a 2013 Pew Global Attitudes Project poll, only 18 percent of the country believes that LGBT people should be accepted by society.
Stay tuned the situation in Lebanon and international LGBT issues at hrc.org/international.