November 2, 2014 – Reported by the Daily Star – BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam has yet to respond to a letter he received earlier this month from a sexual health organization urging him to put an end to unethical “anal tests” and other discriminatory measures used on those suspected of being homosexual, which is illegal under Lebanese law.
In a letter sent in October, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health asked the premier to publicly support the ban of such tests, which have been described as torture by the Lebanese Order of Physicians and have been banned by the Interior Ministry since 2012.
The letter pointed out that despite the ban, anal tests involving the insertion of an egg-shaped metal object into the rectum were still being conducted by authorities against those arrested on charges of homosexuality, which is criminalized under Article 534 of the Lebanese penal code.
In May, for example, five men arrested for allegedly being homosexual were subjected to the tests.
Then, in August, 27 people were arrested in Al-Agha Turkish bath and forced to undergo not just the anal test but also non-anonymous HIV testing, conducted without their consent by a Moral Protection Bureau investigator instead of a physician, the letter said.
“These [anal tests] are considered a form of abuse and can have serious physical and psychological damages,” the association’s letter said, adding that the practice was a violation of medical ethics and had no scientific grounding. On top of causing physical pain and humiliation, the exam can also facilitate the transmission of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and Hepatitis.
But Lt. Col. Johnny Haddad, the head of the bureau, denied the tests had been taking place recently…