Lebanon's decision to block the popular dating app Grindr was slammed on Wednesday by Amnesty International as "a deeply regressive step, and a blow" for the human rights of the local LGBTI community.
The app, used mainly by gay and trans men, was blocked following an order by the country's telecommunications ministry issued on Friday.
A request from the public prosecutor ordered internet service providers to block the app and its associated site - although the application was still accessible on some providers on Wednesday.
"The decision to ban Grindr in Lebanon is a deeply regressive step and a blow for the human rights of the local LGBTI community," Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty's Middle East research director, said in a statement.
"As well as being a flagrant assault on the right to freedom of expression, this move will serve to entrench and legitimise homophobic views within the country," Maalouf said.
"No one should face discrimination or punishment for their sexual orientation," Maalouf added.
"Instead of blocking apps used by the gay community, the Lebanese authorities should immediately revoke this ban and focus their efforts on ending their crackdown against LGBTI people."
LGBTI people in Lebanon continue to be denied the freedom to exercise their rights.
A decades-old law in Lebanon punishes sexual relations "contrary to nature" with up to one year in prison.
Just over a year ago, Internal Security forces also banned a series of activities organised by LGBTI activists to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, citing security concerns.
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