A significant step by the Lebanese judiciary system to achieve justice in the case of refugee Bashar Abd Al-Saud’s torture

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Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR
7 Decembre 2022

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The military investigating judge in Beirut, Judge Najat Abou Shaqra, issued the 160th indictment for 2022 against five State Security Service members for the torture of refugee Bashar Abd Al-Saud during his detention and interrogation, which led to his death. An officer and four of his assistants were indicted, four of whom drove the refugee Bashar to his death after his arrest on 30 August 2022. After his death was announced,  press reports published pictures showing signs of his torture.  Lebanese Security agencies systematically practice torture and ill-treatment of Syrian refugees during their interrogation when arrested or detained, in addition to the inhumane conditions of detention in places of detention that do not comply with international detention standards. According to the Court newspaper, “All of the defendants used to beat, abuse, and torture other detainees during interrogation, violating by that military instructions.”

ACHR recorded a minimum of 186 cases where victims were subjected during detention or arrest to beating, torture, and ill-treatment, between 2019 and 2021, while in 2022, specifically from the beginning of the year until last October, ACHR recorded a noticeable increase in the number of torture cases, reaching 103 cases of ill-treatment and torture, of which only torture cases were documented with forensics reports.

On September 19, 2017, the Lebanese parliament passed Law No. 65, which criminalizes torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment. The law entered into force when it was published in the Official Gazette on October 26, 2017. Although Lebanese law penalizes torture, regardless of the degree of violence used and whatever the results or the pains caused by it are or if there were or not any apparent harm.  However, ACHR has documented the violations of several Lebanese official bodies who tortured detainees/imprisoned persons during detention, arrest, or investigation. Of these bodies: military bodies (the Lebanese Army, the Lebanese Army Intelligence, and the Military Police), Internal Security Forces (the General Directorate of General Security, the gendarmerie, and the Municipal Police), and the General Directorate of State Security. Syrian refugees are also at risk of torture from unofficial entities in Lebanon, including Lebanese citizens, due to hate speech by politicians and political parties in power.

Various methods of torture are used against Syrian refugee detainees, the most prominent of which, according to what was documented by ACHR, are caning, electrical torture, repeated beatings with hands and feet, hanging detainees from ceilings, forcing the detainee to stand or sit in painful positions, as well as psychological torture; threatening the detainees’ family safety, Solitary confinement, tying the detainees’ feet to a wheel from the abdomen or back’s side, sleep deprivation, harassment, and sexual assault.

Access Center for Human Rights commends the decision of judge Abou Shaqra and sees it as an essential step in enforcing the implementation of international laws and treaties related to Lebanon’s commitment to respecting human rights according to the Lebanese constitution. ACHR also calls on the Lebanese government to continue to research and investigate various torture cases through its specialized judiciary system. It hopes the government engages civil society in this field and builds effective partnerships to guarantee the best application of relevant standards.

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