Rosier outlook for 12 Libyans jailed after militia’s gay raid

Libyan men reportedly detained by extremist militia for being gay
Libyan men reportedly detained by extremist militia for being gay, or perhaps for being loud.

Twelve allegedly gay men arrested by a Libyan militia  reportedly will be turned over to the Libyan Ministry of Justice, according to an article today in the Libya Herald.

They reportedly face charges of disturbing the peace, not of homosexual activity, which could have resulted in prison sentences of up to five years under Libyan law.

Human rights activists have been seeking the facts behind reports that 12 men had been arrested Nov. 22 by an extremist Islamist militia and might face execution.

The reports came variously from Gay Star News, a Facebook page that has now been erased, and a related online Libya Herald news article.

Accompanying the reports was a photo of 11 men lined up with their faces turned to a wall.

The latest Libya Herald article quotes an unnamed senior member of the Nawasi Brigade, who denied that the men faced possible execution and said the detainees would be turned over to the Ministry of Justice. The article said:

The brigadesman said that the primary reason for the men’s arrest was the loud noise they were making that evening, not because they were believed to be homosexual.

“These guys are not straight, but that’s not the main reason we arrested them,” he continued. “The main thing was the big noise they were making to the neighbours, as well as the large amounts of alcohol and hashish we found.”

The threats that the men might be executed appeared on the militia’s now-deleted Facebook page because that page was not adequately controlled, he said.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a [communications] office; we have about three guys mainly working from home and we can’t always control what’s posted,” he said.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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