Lebanon police conduct anal probes on 36 men from gay porn cinema

Doctors called in to conduct anal exams on men arrested in police raid. TV presenter Joe Maalouf who sparked police action threatens law suit over claims he is gay

Lebanon police conduct anal probes on 36 men from gay porn cinema
31 July 2012

Vice police in Lebanon have conducted anal exams on the 36 men who were arrested in a sting operation on a gay porn cinema.

The men were arrested in a police raid on the gay porn cinema in Beirut on Saturday (28 July). The cinema is famous for being a place where men meet to have sex with other men.

Of the 36 arrested, an unknown number have now been released after having an anal probe exam by an unnamed doctor.

The arrests followed Murr TV’s (MTV) celebrity Joe Maalouf’s allegations that authorities are protecting ‘perverts in cinemas’ which he described as ‘safe havens’ of ‘debauchery’, demanding swift action by the authorities against them.

The men were detained in Makhfar Hbeish (Hbeish Police Station), which is a special police unit that mainly deals with drugs and prostitution.

The police officers of Makhfar Hbeish called in a doctor to perform an ‘anal exam’ to ‘determine’ which of the men engaged in anal sex providing ‘proof’ of who is gay.

During this highly criticised and discredited test a doctor asks a man to undress, and then lean over or crouch, submitting to a medical examination of their anus.

The doctor checks for traces of sperm, and takes a picture to ‘study’ the shape of the hole (the larger the width the more ‘likely’ the person is gay, according to this discredited theory). Human Rights Watch previously denounced such anal exams as akin to ‘acts of torture’.

Some of the detainees were released following this ‘anal examination’ while others still remain in Makhfar Hbeish.

The Lebanese Broadcasting Cooperation (LBC) condemend the arrests today (31 July) saying they violate human rights and slamming the tests as disgraceful and bringing shame on Lebanon.

So far Makhfar Hbeish has refused to give any details regarding how many men are still being held, nor any details about them including names, age and nationality. But it is known the owner of the cinema was among those originally arrested.

Lebanese lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists are outraged for the humiliation, shame and brutality of these exams.

The anal probes were strongly condemed by Charbel Maydaa, director of  Helem, the LGBT advocacy charity in Lebanon, live on LBC TV News.  The organization is working to get the remaining men released.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, Joe Maalouf made threats against Georges Azzi, the founder of Helem and executive director for the Arab Foundation For Freedoms And Equality, who alleged Maalouf was a closeted gay man on Facebook.

He commented on Azzi’s Facebook status update: ‘Will see u in the court of law.’ [sic]

Asked what kind of law Maalouf would be using against him, he replied: ‘Just to teach u a lesson not to make things up abt people… at last we discovered what helem.s level and urs mr azzi is those dirty cinemas… I used to wonder why no one listened to u, now I knew.’ [sic]

He went on to say Azzi wouln’t achieve his goals of LGBT liberation because of his ‘dirtiness’ and he threatened his next TV series would reveal ‘all the truth’.

Maalouf later deleted his comments but Gay Star News has screen grabs of his remarks.

In response Azzi told Gay Star News: ‘I am not worried about his attacks and I would rather we focus our energy on the arrested guys.

‘It’s a shame that Mr Maalouf and MTV are engaged in cheap sensationalism against LGBT people. They have done this previously as well as attacking migrant workers and other vulnerable groups.’

Azzi wrote on his Facebook wall that he admits that outing Maalouf ‘is not the ideal solution, but no other reasonable solution worked with him or MTV in general so far.’

He added: ‘Because of him 36 individual most of them are much less privileged than him and completely dependent on their families were outed in a very ugly way.

‘He gives himself the right to live his life because he can afford it while denying it to others. I am aware of the risks I took by doing so, but the idea is not to out someone but rather exposing his hypocrisy to deny him the ability to spread hatred.’

Meanwhile, according to both media and activists accounts Maalouf is believed to be vacationing in Europe, complaining that he has been harassed and received threats in Lebanon.

The Lebanese paper El Nashra previously quoted Maalouf speaking on a radio program saying that Hitler is his personal idol, and sometimes a person like him is ‘needed’ in order to ‘reduce the numbers’. He did not state who he meant by ‘the numbers’ but activists have taken this to mean LGBT people as well as others.

Gay Star News, however, has not been able to obtain a recording of the radio program and therefore can not confirm if Maalouf really did make this statement.

See Maalouf’s Facebook comment here:

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