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The ISF arrests people under the charge of “Liwat”

2014-06-18 11.52.14

For a couple of minutes, the Lebanese ISF twitter account featured a tweet that announced the arrest of two people without any identification papers under the charge of “liwat” or what is more appropriately termed homosexuality/same-sex attraction.  The ISF should brush up on the law since there is no charge as such. Article 534 that is erroneously being used to target same sex intercourse is only applicable to “un-natural sexual intercourse”.

The tweet was up for a while then taken down but not before it was caught by other news outlets. I came to knowledge about it via someone who follows their account. Whether this is a true incident or not remains to be seen.

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Aside

Lebanese media and invasion of privacy

Recently, online news outlets started circulating a news report about two men who were arrested in the Achrafieh area. The men were caught inside a car for having sex or making out. I’m not sure since all of that is lumped in “indecent acts”.

The point that I want to highlight on in this post is how the media delt with this incident. In reporting it, they used the identification information of the men involved. They reported their first name, initials of middle and last names, date of birth and nationality. Seriously?! Like there was really no need for the initials.

This is a very unnecessary violation of privacy that will probably harm the men involved very seriously. There it is important that we don’t share the link to such news report and instead send them an email urging them to take out this information. Below is a sample that I am using when email these sites. If you don’t want to write one your own, please feel free to use it as well.

——–

Dear Sir/Mme,

In a recent entry on your site:
<insert link if you want>

You provided the identification info for the people who were arrested (first name, initials for middle and last names,year of birth, nationality).

This is completely unnecessary and might harm the people concerned. It is also a direct violation of their privacy and an unprofessional journalistic behavior.

Please take appropriate action by removing the identification information and preserving the privacy of the people in questions.

Thank you

——-

Aside

Lebanese internet law that compromises our online freedom of expression

Almost two years ago or so, a law that regulates internet use in Lebanon was proposed. It was – for the lack of a better word – “sloppy” and vague but none the less allowed the Lebanese government to pursue what people publish and express online. The civil society rose in an uproar and the law didn’t pass the Parliament and was killed in its cradle.

Regrettably, another similar law was recently proposed by the new Lebanese Minister of Information Walid al-Daouq. The law prohibits the publication of “anything that offends public morals or ethics”. With such a vague directives, the Lebanese government can trace and prosecute anything that runs contrary to socio-normative standards, which is technically most of what is taken up on the internet since it is the only place that we can express ourselves freely. For a better review about the law, refer to Khodor Salameh’s cover on the issue.

What does this mean for the LGBTIQ movement?! everything probably. We have gone too far in establishing a platform for free expression online after our voices have been suffocated by a socially homophobic sectarian and political silencing. Now this scarce freedom of expression is under attack by a law that will enable the government to sue such an online presence that are deemed “immoral to social norm” (whatever that means). Last time this happened, we all mobilized against it and took it down. We’ll defend our freedom of expression again and defeat this one as well. Stay tuned and spread the word, this must not pass silently.