August 14, 2014 – Reported by the Daily Star – BEIRUT: Lebanese NGOs Wednesday called for the immediate release of 27 men who were detained on charges of being gay after police received a tipoff that a group of men were at a Turkish-style hammam in a Beirut neighborhood.
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…