Mayor of Dekwaneh forces gay residents to strip naked and be photographed

The Lebanese mayor of Dekwaneh defended his actions in an interview Tuesday after he ordered Lebanese security forces to raid and shut down a gay-friendly nightclub in the Beiruti suburb town.

Several club-goers were arrested and forced to undress in the municipal headquarters, where they were then photographed naked.

“I saw 25 men outside, or what looked like boys and men. I went inside… I saw people kissing, touching each other, and a man wearing a skirt. These homosexual acts that are happening… are scandalous sexual acts,” Antoine Shakhtoura said.

Shakhtoura had ordered the nightclub Ghost to be shut down on charges of “promoting prostitution, drugs and homosexuality.”

The closure of the club occurred “without legal notice,” said the founder of Lebanese LGBTQ rights organization Helem, Charbel Maydaa, pointing out that the police already oppress gay and transgender people.

Those arrested included “people from the Syrian community and a Lebanese transsexual woman, who was harassed and forced to undress in the municipal headquarters,” said Maydaa.

“Of course we made them take off their clothes,” Shakhtoura said referring to the people they transferred to the municipality’s headquarters who were also photographed there.

“We saw a scandalous situation and we had to know what these people were. Is it a woman or a man? Turned out to be a half woman and half man. I do not accept this in Dekwaneh,” he insisted.

“We didn’t fight for and defend this land and our honor for some people… to practice these things in my neighborhood, Dekwaneh,” Shakhtoura added.

In response, one of Ghost’s managers said, “even if they are [gay], well, that is their personal freedom and we do not have any problem with it at all.”

The nightclub’s management condemned the municipality’s accusation, stressing to Al-Akhbar that the accusations against them were false and that the raid of the Lebanese forces had no prior warning.

Helem, which was founded in 2004, had been monitoring the nightclub as it was a regular target of police abuse.

In a statement the organization issued recently, they said, “witnesses confirmed that customers near the nightclub were frequently exposed to abuse because of their appearance. Some are transferred in car trunks to the municipality where they are physically and verbally abused.”

As reported in Al-Akhbar, the Dekwaneh area has joined other Lebanese regions in their heightened discrimination towards Syrians in the country. Syrian nightclub goers often risk violence should they violate the 7:00 pm curfew imposed on Syrian refugees in parts of Lebanon.

Al-Akhbar

  • 5thDrawer

    Oh admit it, Mayor …. you and the ‘cops’ just wanted to see the naked bodies. Are you posting the pics on your Facebook pages yet, or just ‘exchanging’ with friends??
    Probably selling them somewhere ….
    Could send them to Tripoli and let other idiots parade them in the streets … the ladies will enjoy it. The last guy still had his boxers on and wasn’t worth more than a couple of pictures from behind.

  • 5thDrawer

    Oh admit it, Mayor …. you and the ‘cops’ just wanted to see the naked bodies. Are you posting the pics on your Facebook pages yet, or just ‘exchanging’ with friends??

  • http://t.co/LzNrdNOiyB NO IMPACT. CULTURAL ZERO.

    Wow what a monster. It’s even scarier that his people tried sugar-coating the sadistic abuse and discrimination with a “we actually love them and they can be who they want it’s okay with me” statement. The world is so evil.

  • ezra.jones

    Wow what a monster. It’s even scarier that his people tried sugar-coating the sadistic abuse and discrimination with a “we actually love them and they can be who they want it’s okay with me” statement. The world is so evil.

  • antoine rassi

    Mr Shakhtoura is a terrorist and should be tried in an INTERNATIONAL court of law for his barbaric acts!!
    Freedom and respect are something that every human being should deserve on this planet.
    Hopefully ,we will get there one day in third world countries…

  • antoine rassi

    Mr Shakhtoura is a terrorist and should be tried in an INTERNATIONAL court of law for his barbaric acts!!
    Freedom and respect are something that every human being should deserve on this planet.
    Hopefully ,we will get there one day in third world countries…