Two men were imprisoned and tortured for three weeks in southern Lebanon for being gay.
Omar, 30, and Samer, 25, (their names have been changed) were arrested at a police checkpoint on 9 June after half a gram of marijuana was found on the younger man, according to newspaper L’Orient-Le Jour.
The couple spent the night at a police station and the next day were given drug tests, which came back negative.
However, officers found conversations between the two men on Samer’s phone, in which Omar called Samer ‘habibi’ – Arabic for ‘my darling.’
When Omar denied he was gay, he was threatened with an anal examination.
The police then brought out Samer from his cell, handcuffed his hands and feet, punched and kicked him, beat him with a baton, dunked his head in cold water and electrocuted him.
Under the pressure, Samer confessed that they were a couple.
Omar said he endured similar forms of torture.
Every day for the next six days, they were given the choice of torture or revealing the names of other gay men in Lebanon.
‘They wanted to know in detail what we did together, who did what in bed, in great detail,’ said Omar.
They were then transferred to a police station in Beirut where they were interrogated and detained for five days in a 20sqm cell that contained more than 20 prisoners. Omar fainted on the fifth day.
They spent another eight days locked up with more than 200 prisoners.
‘The worst is that the gendarmes had said aloud to the detainees that we were homosexuals,’ said Omar.
‘Then they told us that interrogations were confidential, all my cellmates knew all the details. They could have raped us, no one would ever have known.’
Omar was released three weeks after his arrest when he was allowed to see a judge for two minutes.
‘The worst has happened, I have nothing more to lose,’ said Omar.
‘My father no longer speaks to me since he knew what happened, and I know that I was punished without having done any harm to anyone. This will not stop me from living my life as I see fit and I think I henceforth abhor all those in uniform.’
Samer has since been released.
The minister of interior and municipalities is investigating the accusations of torture.
‘It is true that the law always condemns Lebanon relations against nature, but this does not mean that torture is permitted against homosexuals,’ a source in the Internal Security Forces said.
However, a court ruled last year that same-sex relations are not ‘contradicting the laws of nature’ and were not therefore a crime.