Outlet: DNA Magazine / Editor: Troy Murphy / Language: English / Date of publication: 18 May 2018 / Estimated reading time: 58 seconds.
Lebanese authorities have detained the leading organiser of Beirut Pride week forcing him to cancel all events in return for his freedom.
Despite Lebanon being seemingly gay-friendly as it has one of the Arab world’s most open and active gay communities. Authorities ended the nine-day festival citing “censorship approval” according to a statement on the Beirut Pride website.
“Beirut Pride made a lot of people proud of Lebanon,” the organiser, Hadi Damien, said to The New York Times, a day after his release. “And this cancellation made a lot of people sad and disappointed.”
According to Lebanese law “any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature” is punishable by up to one year in prison. However, the law is enforced irregularly and does not specify which sexual practices are illegal.
Organiser, Hadi Damien has since had defended himself against upset LGBT community members.
BEIRUT PRIDE REMARKS:
1. The events of Beirut Pride were suspended on the decision of the General Prosecutor of Beirut, not against the release of Hadi Damien.
2. In its Statement about the Suspension of Beirut Pride Events – 14 May 2018, the website of Beirut Pride clarifies that authorities suspended the events based on a fabricated programme of Beirut Pride, and not because of censorship approval.
3. A lot of disappointment and speculation followed Hadi Damien's arrest, detention and release, which yielded an unfounded criticism. After clarifying what happened, both online and offline, a few persons reached out to him to apologise for their comments.