(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
Same-sex relationships are prohibited by Libyan criminal law.
Article 407(4) (Sexual Assault/Rape) of the Penal Code of 1953 provides: ‘If an individual has sexual intercourse with another person with their consent (outside marriage), the two persons involved shall be punished with a term of imprisonment of five years at most.’
Article 408(4) (Lewd Acts) of the Penal Code of 1953 provides: ‘If an individual commits a lewd act with another person with their agreement (outside marriage), the two persons involved shall be punished with a term of imprisonment.’
Pending case before the European Court of Human Rights: ME v Sweden (Application 71398/12), relating to the risk of refoulement upon return to Libya of a person married to a person of the same sex.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE’S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
‘[T]he governments [sic] deemed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) orientation illegal, and official […] discrimination against LGBT persons persisted during the year’ according to the US State Department and the UK Border Agency 2012 reports.
In November 2012, members of the Nawasi Brigade affiliated with the Libyan Ministry of Interior arrested and detained 12 allegedly gay men who were at a private party, releasing them a week later with bruises on their backs and legs as well as shaved heads. According to the US State Department 2012 report, one of the men stated that this type of treatment was commonplace and claimed to have been beaten during a separate arrest by the Nawasi Brigade. Expanding on this incident, the same man reportedly told Pink News that the harassment by the police was worse than it was under Gaddafi.
In July 2013, the Asylum Research Consultancy reported excerpts of an interview of a Libyan LGBT activist highlighting the police’s inability to prevent persecution from militia: ‘Many of us fear that some of the militias [there are over 250 of them in the country], which are extreme Islamists who are very well armed and financed, will focus on the LGBT community and hunt us down. The police is largely absent or powerless so Libyan civil society has a real problem; the militias often take the law onto their own hands’.
The US State Department annual human rights report covering the year 2012 states that ‘societal discrimination against LGBT persons persisted during the year’ and ‘citizens tended to hold negative views of LGBT persons, and homosexuality was socially stigmatized’. Sexual orientation or gender identity occasionally constituted the basis for societal violence, harassment, blackmail, or other actions, generally at a local level.
Gay-WorldsNews.com reported in September 2011 that ‘beyond the criminal laws, cross-dressing and homosexuality are widely seen as immoral activities’. According to Gay Star News, following the arrest and abuse of 12 men suspected of homosexuality, pictures of the men were posted on Facebook and ‘received 121 likes, 118 shares, and mainly violent comments such as “flog them hard!”, “let them see bullets!”, “free Libya! [i.e. from gays]”, “ride them like camels” and so on’.
In October 2010 ANSAmed, a media partner of the European Commission reporting on the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, reported that a Libyan girl had sought asylum in Europe after having been ‘arrested, raped and returned to her family which tried to force her into marriage after she announced on the internet that she is gay’.
As regards violence against persons with HIV/AIDS, in a June 2013 published article by IRIN, an HIV specialist who has worked in Libya since 2005, Alessandra Martino, was quoted as saying that ‘HIV is very closely associated with vices like casual sex, sex, homosexuality and drug taking: things that are unacceptable in mainstream Libyan culture’.
Statements by Libyan officials also confirm hostile approaches to LGBTI persons. According to Fox News, a UN delegate of Libya’s post-Gaddafi government ‘told a human rights panel that gays and other groups threaten “reproduction of the human race,” drawing a stern rebuke from leaders of the international body’.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
We do not currently list any NGOs working with LGBTI persons in Libya, but we welcome suggestions.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
We have no specialists on LGBTI issues in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, but would welcome suggestions.
Researched by: Minos Mouzourakis