Rights group calls on Lebanese forces to stop arrests and torture of protesters


As protest in Lebanon enters its seventh week, Amnesty International is calling on the Lebanese armed forces to end arbitrary arrest, torture and other ill-treatment of peaceful protesters.

The past weeks have seen scores of protesters arrested by both military and security forces across Lebanon.

In an interview conducted by Amnesty International, the protesters described being subjected to a catalogue of abuse, including arrests without warrant, severe beatings, insults and humiliation, blindfolding and forced confessions.

Some were detained in unknown locations, denied access to lawyers or contact with their families, as well as access to medical care and had their phones searched. Two people told the organization that they had been subjected to mock executions.

“The Lebanese Armed Forces must immediately put an end to these abusive practices and ensure it is protecting the rights of peaceful protesters to their freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, rather than punishing them simply for exercising their human rights,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research.

At least two protesters are now being summoned and charged before the military court. Amnesty International calls on the authorities to stop trying civilians in military court and to ensure that perpetrators of torture and other forms of ill-treatment are promptly, thoroughly, and effectively investigated by a civilian justice system and not the military justice system to ensure impartiality and to provide victims with their right to a remedy.

On the night of November 27, according to the Committee of Lawyers to Defend Protesters in Lebanon, members of the Army intelligence arrested and detained two young men in the southern district of Marjeyoun after they had been tagging slogans on walls in support of the protests. They were interrogated and released the next day.

In seven other cases documented by Amnesty International, military forces, including the military intelligence, conducted the arrests and the beatings. All seven individuals were subsequently released following periods ranging between a few hours and up to six days. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)