BEIRUT, Aug 13 — A group of Lebanese NGOs has condemned local police for arresting 27 men at a Beirut bathhouse over allegations of homosexual acts and “public indecency”.
In a joint statement issued yesterday, the groups said 27 men were being held by police after being arrested at a Beirut hammam on August 9 and questioned about their sexual orientation.
The groups, including Lebanese gay rights NGO Helem, said those arrested included the bathhouse owner, his employees and several clients.
“The raid followed the arrest of an individual who pointed to the Agha Hammam as a gathering place for men who are seeking sexual encounters with other men,” the statement said.
The general prosecutor told the groups that the men could face charges of “public indecency,” although he was “not interested” in charging them with violating Lebanon’s controversial Article 534, which prohibits sexual relations that “contradict the laws of nature”.
Gay and human rights groups have campaigned for the abolition of the article, which they say is used to discriminate against homosexuals.