John M. Becker

Gay Men Arrested in Lebanon, Hanged in Iran

Filed By John M. Becker | August 14, 2014 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: arrests, executions of gay people, hammam, hanging gay people, Iran, Lebanon, sodomy law, Turkish bath

lebanon-map.jpgA coalition of five Lebanese NGOs are calling for the release of 27 men who were arrested by police in Beirut last Saturday for allegedly looking for sex with other men at a Turkish-style bathhouse. The Daily Star reports:

On Aug. 9, a unit with the judicial police's Moral Protection Bureau raided the Agha hammam after a detainee told police at the Hbeish police station in Hamra that gay men sought "sexual encounters with other men" there, the NGOs said in a joint statement.

Police arrested the owner of the hammam, the employees and several clients. All clients remain in custody at the detention center, the statement said, quoting a colonel at the police station.

The case was referred to prosecutor Bilal Dinnawi, who informed the NGOs that the prosecution "is not interested in charging the detainees" under Article 534, but that they could be charged for public indecency.

The NGOs also said that the colonel informed them that none of the detainees were subject to physical or verbal abuse, or the anal exam, a widely discredited "test" for homosexuality, which remains a criminal offense in Lebanon.

Article 534, Lebanon's sodomy law, apparently remains in force despite suffering a serious blow in a landmark court ruling in March.

The news from Iran is after the break.

Last week in Iran, two men were allegedly hanged for consensual sodomy, according to the Daily Beast:

[T]wo men, Abdullah Ghavami Chahzanjiru and Salman Ghanbari Chahzanjiri, were hanged in southern Iran on August 6, possibly for consensual sodomy. Their deaths are part of a wave of executions in Iran, with more than 400 in the first half of 2014 alone, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights.

We do not know for certain that they were executed for being gay--one Iranian source says they were, another is vague about their "crimes" but calls them "immoral villains."

Reporter Jay Michaelson also points out that these executions come at a tricky point in U.S.-Iran relations, when Iranian cooperation is becoming increasingly critical as the U.S. contends with the terrifying rise of ISIS in Iraq.

On an unrelated note, a recent poll of students conducted by the Iranian government revealed that a full 17% of respondents identify as gay.

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