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.