Lebanon’s Gay Pride Week began as scheduled on Saturday, but was shut down after organizer Hadi Damien was arrested and held overnight.
BEIRUT — The organizer of Lebanon’s beleaguered gay pride week has been briefly detained days into the celebrations and the rest of the festival’s events cancelled.
Hadi Damien told The Associated Press Tuesday that he was held overnight over Beirut Pride week, which began Saturday, allegedly following complaints from critics.
Damien’s lawyer, Layal Saqr, said her client was interrogated over allegedly encouraging debauchery and offending public decency.
Damien was released after signing a pledge to call off the rest of the week’s events, which included a street party and poetry readings.
Saqr said the detention sent “a warning.”
Lebanon became the first Arab country to celebrate gay pride last year. Some events were also cancelled last year but no one was arrested.
Homosexuality is still punishable by law in Lebanon.
[Editor’s note: But a lower-court judge in Lebanon has blocked enforcement of that law, ruling that homosexuality is not “unnatural,” so is not covered by the law’s prohibition of sex acts “contrary to the order of nature.”]
- Doctors push for LGBT health in Lebanon (
- Lebanon court: Gay sex is natural; anti-gay law weakens (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Lebanon appeal: LGBT sexuality isn’t ‘against nature’(May 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Report: Lebanon targets gay men in 3 raids, 45 arrests (August 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Anti-gay Lebanon: 27 arrests in raid on Turkish bath (August 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Lebanon’s anti-LGBT law is invalid, judge rules (March 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Report cites torture of Lebanon LGBTs, others; seeks reform (June 2013, 76crimes.com)