Cops raid second Lebanon bathhouse in gay crackdown

Up to 28 people could face jail or expulsion from Lebanon after two raids on hammams believed by police to be meeting spaces for gay and bisexual men

Cops raid second Lebanon bathhouse in gay crackdown
15 August 2014

Police have raided a second bathhouse in Beirut, believing it to be popular with gay people, and arrested all the staff.
 
The raid of the Shehrazad Hammam or ‘Turkish bath’ in Burj Hammoud, a Christian suburb of Beirut, took place around noon yesterday.
 
It comes after a raid on Saturday (9 August) on the Agha Hammam baths where 27 people were arrested. They have now been charged with homosexuality and could be jailed.
 
Bertho Makso of Proud Lebanon told Gay Star News: ‘The police went [to Shehrazad Hammam] in the morning around midday when there were no clients and they were cleaning the place.
 
‘They arrested all the Syrian staff and took them for investigations. They have released all but one of them.’
 
It is believed he has been taken to a Zahle prison near the country’s border. There he will be joining the Syrian and Iraqis from the previous raid.
 
The police have apparently sent them to Zahle claiming there was no space to jail them in Beirut. But LGBTI campaigners say it could be a ploy to deport them after local media shone a light on the case.
 
By contrast the Lebanese clients and owner of the Agha Hammam have been charged and released.
 
All the men are believed to have been charged under article 534 of the penal code, which criminalizes homosexuality, and could face jail.
 
They may also face charges under articles 527 and 531 which relate to prostitution and immoral activities in public spaces.
 
Meanwhile the Agha Hammam has been closed and cannot open without official permission. Shehrazad Hammam is refusing entry to people it believes are gay.
 
Makso said: ‘The way they [the authorities] did it, it is clearly targeting vulnerable groups when they should be concentrating on terrorism at the moment.’
 
He said LGBTI people in Lebanon were now afraid of raids against ‘bars, clubs and NGOs’ and was ‘asking the support of everyone to stop these kind of behaviors’.
 
He added: ‘People get scared and they go back in the closet so it is terrifying.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Matt Bomer admits he is crazy for Cronuts

But out actor has to lay off tasty treats to finish losing 32 pounds for The Normal Heart
No thumbnail available

This exclusively gay Mediterranean oasis is your home away from home

The ultimate villa dinner party and a Michelin-star picnic are just a few of the social functions you can design for you and your friends at Cinq & Sept, a sumptuous gay guesthouse in the South of France
This whale is so gay it can create its own rainbows

This whale is so gay it can create its own rainbows

Humpback whale joins in with the Pride season by blowing rainbows
No thumbnail available

Pussy Riot member says anti-gay Putin's amnesty law is a 'PR stunt'

Saying she would have rather stayed in prison, Maria Alyokhina remains strongly anti-Putin after his new amnesty law released her from jail three months early
No thumbnail available

Daniel Radcliffe's PSA for Trevor Project premieres

'I believe that reaching out for help is the bravest thing a person can do'
No thumbnail available

First Mr Gay Namibia mugged

Muggers demand cash in possibly homophobia-motivated attack against Wendelinus Hamutenya
No thumbnail available

Swiss take baby step to same-sex couples' adoption rights

Switzerland’s National Council backs rights for gay couples to adopt ­– but only their partners’ pre-existing children after parliamentarians argue it ‘goes against nature’
Why Buddha was not anti-gay

Why Buddha was not anti-gay

While many gays are rejecting religion, others are choosing to walk a different path. GSN meets the Tibetan Buddhists who are living a life beyond dogma, intolerance and the very concept of sexuality
No thumbnail available

Good Morning America's Robin Roberts opens up about finally coming out publicly as lesbian

'Sometimes there's a stigma attached to how people view you if you're living a certain way. But I don't care - you gotta live your life'