[JURIST] Lebanese police forces are targeting and torturing [press release] drug users, sex workers and members of LGBT communities, according to a report [text] released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website]. The report, released on the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture [official website], included quotes from members of those demographics claiming that various forms of sexual violence, beatings and humiliation were used to garnish favorable treatment from the guards or false confessions under duress. Of those interviewed, 100 percent reported treatment that violated the Lebanese adoption of UN agreements [text], but only about 10 percent requested a formal investigation from local authorities. Of those requests, only two were granted, but no charges were brought against the accused members of the police. The Internal Security Forces of Lebanon [official website] is supposed to provide relief for civilians whose rights have been violated, but HRW alleged that they are unresponsive to most calls for help from concerned citizens.
Lebanese police have been targeting at-risk communities for several years, according to HRW. Last August HRW reported that the Lebanese police were using anal examinations to determine the sexual orientation of suspected gay men [JURIST report]. The announcement came on the heels of an arrest of 36 men at a gay cinema in July, which saw all the suspects subjected to anal examinations by forensics doctors to determine if they were guilty of violating Article 534 [UNHCR backgrounder] of the Lebanese penal code, which criminalizes “sexual relations against nature” and is used to prosecute homosexuality. Helem [advocacy website, in Arabic], Lebanon’s most prominent LGBT rights group, reported last June that that even when the examinations produce no evidence, it does not vindicate the suspect [press release, in Arabic], as doctors report the suspect to the Attorney General regardless.