In Lebanon, 36 men arrested at gay porn movie, forced to pay for anal probe exams

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- The 36 men arrested at a gay porn cinema in Beirut have had to pay for an anal probe exam to be conducted on them, despite it being a form of torture.

According to Helem, the LGBT advocacy charity in Lebanon, 33 of the 36 men arrested on Saturday have now been released on bail but may still be charged and face a court case.

However, the incident has sparked widespread public concern in Lebanon and initiated a debate about making gay sex legal and reponsible media reporting of human rights issues.

The men were arrested in a police raid on Plaza Cinema, Beirut on Saturday (28 July) and the story was broken internationally by Gay Star News. The cinema was well known for airing porn films and being a place where men meet to have sex with other men.

All the men were forced to have a totally discredited anal probe exam by an unnamed doctor, who ‘determined’ that three of the men were gay.

Not only were all the men subjected to these anal probes, that Human Rights Watch previously denounced as akin to ‘acts of torture’, but were in addition forced to pay each LBP125,000 ($88 €72) for the procedure.

The two men who tested 'positive' for gay sex are still in custody and have been transferred from the Lebanese vice police station - Makhfar Hbeish to the tribunal detention facility. They are being held for alleged homosexuality in line with article 534 which punishes sexual acts that ‘contradict the laws of nature’, by up to a year in prison.

The third person still in custody is the owner of the cinema, which was closed down, may be charged with screening films and promoting ‘immorality.’

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