Lebanon’s gay pride week brought to halt after crackdown
Outlet: Inkling League / Editor: The Associated Press / Language: English / Date of publication: 16 May 2018 / Estimated reading time: 53 seconds.
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 Sunday, 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.
BEIRUT PRIDE'S REMARK:
Beirut Pride's events were suspended on the decision of the General Prosecutor of Beirut, independently of the agreement, consent or refusal of Hadi Damien. He has no authority to "call off the events", a decision that was effective whether he was detained or released. The pledge Hadi was asked to sign was for him to acknowledge the decision of the General Prosecutor. For a full account of the detention, refer to the Statement about the Suspension of Beirut Pride Events – 14 May 2018.