Saturday, November 26, 2005

News (Lebanon): "Acid and X-OM Police Raid Updates" - HeLeM

Acid and X-OM Police Raid Updates

On the night of November 12, 2005, 6 men were arrested in Acid nightclub, a known gay venue in Sin el Fil. No charges were pressed against them. The detainees were released after 3 days of detention. Although no physical abuse was reported, the police were verbally abusive towards the men.

A week later, another known gay club, X-OM, was raided. The police checked IDs and inquired about drug use in the venue. No arrests took place that night.

Acid and X-OM were probably targeted by the police for their openly gay clientele, although legally they had no pretext for any arrests. Article 534 of the Lebanese penal code explicitly states that �penetrative sex against nature� is punishable by law, and not homosexuality per se or the adoption of a gay identity. Laws against public indecency may be enforced if excessive displays of affection or other such behavior is witnessed, but this does not entail the same sort

These arrests and raids are not haphazard. The increasing political tensions in the country are being manifested in severely heightened security measures that include augmented activity by the Vice Squads of the Internal Security Forces across Lebanon. Helem is working closely with lawyers and NGOs concerned with civil rights and liberties to make sure that incidents such as the haphazard arrests that occurred will not be repeated.


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