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Banned anal exams still being used in Lebanon to test if men are gay

Despite a Lebanese Order of Physicians ban on subjecting suspected homosexuals to humiliating anal examinations, police continue to use doctors who engage in the practice to try to prove that people are gay
Members of Helem protest outside Lebanon's Justice Ministry in 2012
Photo by Helem

Those suspected of engaging in homosexual acts by the Lebanese police are continuing to be subjected to humiliating anal examinations according to a new report.

The examination involves placing an egg shaped metal object inside the anus and caused uproar after it was used on 35 men who were arrested in a porn cinema in Burj Hammoud in July of 2012 resulting in protests by Lebanese LGBTI rights group Helem who compared the examinations to rape.

Lebanon’s Order of Physicians banned the practice in August of 2012 and Lebanon’s Justice Minister spoke out against it of September of that year, but this month’s edition of Legal Agenda has identified five instances of the practice since January this year.

The report by Legal Agenda found that Lebanon’s judicial police force’s Moral Protection Bureau had hired a forensic doctor to examine five Lebanese and Syrian men they suspected of being gay despite a Lebanese Order of Physicians circular stating, ‘Such techniques do not give the desired result and constitute a gross violation of the rights of persons who are subject to it without their consent.’

‘The practice is humiliating and is torture in violation of the [United Nations] Convention Against Torture,' the circular states.

Legal Agenda editor Nizar Saghieh has called for the doctor to be struck off for his actions.

‘We are asking the Order of Physicians to sue him for professional misconduct,’ Saghieh told Lebanon’s The Daily Star.

'There are many sanctions available, so it is up to the people who are hearing this case to decide on what is adequate.’

Homosexuality is still a crime in Lebanon and is punishable with up to a year’s prison, though it is one of the more tolerant countries in the region.

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