Lebanon: Anal exams still being conducted on ‘suspected homosexuals’ despite ban

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Anal examinations are still being carried out on people suspected of being gay in Lebanon, despite the country’s medical board banning the practice.

People arrested by police in the country have been subjected to the humiliating exam – which involves an egg-shaped object being placed inside a man’s rectum – despite condemnation by the Lebanese Order of Physicians.

It has previously been derided as useless, unreliable, and akin to torture and rape.

Nizar Saghieh, editor of The Legal Agenda, told the Lebanon Daily Star that he had identified five instances where it has been carried out this year by a police doctor of the Moral Protection Bureau, despite a ban.

He said: “We are asking the Order of Physicians to sue [the doctor] for professional misconduct.

“There are many sanctions available, so it is up to the people who are hearing this case to decide on what is adequate.”

The Order of Physicians says: “Such techniques do not give the desired result and constitute a gross violation of the rights of persons who are subject to it without their consent.

“The practice is humiliating and is torture in violation of the [United Nations] Convention Against Torture.”

The anal probes were used in 2012 after 36 men were arrested at a gay cinema in Beirut, as the police cracked down on homosexuality in the city.

Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code bars sexual relations that are “contradicting the laws of nature”, and can result in a prison term of up to one year. However, a Lebanese judge issued a ruling in Batroun in 2009 that same-sex relations did not violate natural laws.