On June 9, two men were arrested in Lebanon for possessing a half-gram of marijuana. But when authorities realized the men were gay, it started a harrowing ordeal, leading to torture and weeks of imprisonment.
Police suspected Omar and Samer were homosexuals simply because a contact on Samer’s phone was listed as “Habibi” (an arabic word meaning “my friend” or “my darling”). That was enough to warrant beatings, dunkings in cold water and electrocutions—even though homosexuality is not illegal in Lebanon.
Both men were forced to reveal the names of other homosexuals they knew—though by that point, they were willing to say anything.
Blog Baladi reports:
They were transferred to Hobeiche police station in Beirut where they also got interrogated and detained for five days in a 20 square-meter cell that contained more than 20 prisoners. Afterwards, both were sent back to Saida and spent eight additional days in prison with over 200 prisoners.
The officer in charge there made sure to tell all the prisoners that Omar and Samer were gay.
Omar’s nightmare ended three weeks later when he was allowed to see a judge for 2 minutes, and then signed a paper, paid a fee and got released. Samer on the other hand is still detained.
Their parents were also informed of their alleged “crime,” though they were not allowed to visit their sons in jail.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in the country in 2014, after a judge ruleed that same-sex relations “do not contradict the laws of nature.”
According to a 2013 study, less than 20% of Lebanese people thinks homosexuals should be accepted by society.