Beirut, October 19, 2019 –

Under the Lebanese Constitution (paragraph b), Lebanon expresses its firm determination to respect the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
-    Article 5 of the UDHR stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture.
-    The Charter protects the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Following the alleged violation of domestic and international laws that were reported during the recent demonstrations that arose in Lebanon, the Lebanese Center  for Human Rights (CLDH) urgently calls on the Lebanese government to respect its domestic and international commitments.

On the night of October 17, a clash between some protesters and security forces occurred after civilians tried to access the Grand Serail in Riad El Soleh district.

According to the media and eye witnesses, security forces threw tear gas bombs towards protesters and beat some of the protesters, leaving several of them injured. “We were peacefully gathered as my brother was beaten in front of our eyes all over his head, neck, and legs by police officers.” a civil protester said to a Lebanese media station.

Many protesters were arrested on the night of October 18, in a demeaning way, lying faces down on the ground with their arms behind their back and their phones confiscated.  Despite the decision issued by the General Prosecutor on the night of October 18 to release protesters on bail and to keep their fingerprints, they were kept in custody overnight. Several lawyers and protesters’ relatives tracked the arrest process and gathered outside of police stations to demand their release.

Currently, protesters are being legally assisted yet many of the released inmates claimed having been subjected to ill treatment and some allegations of torture have also been reported. Furthermore, lawyers and relatives declared that security forces were releasing the most injured protestors discreetly to avoid media and public coverage. Pictures of released protestors severely injured have been widely shared on media and social media.

The Lebanese Center  for Human Rights condemns the violation of domestic and international laws that took place during the past days of demonstrations, and demands from the judiciary and security forces.

-    To respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

-    To respect its domestic (law 65 criminalizing torture in detention) and international commitments against torture.

-    To initiate an immediate judicial inquiry into the alleged cases of ill treatment and torture by security forces.

-    To allow families, relatives of inmates and relevant associations to appoint independent lawyers who can interview all inmates privately.

-    To immediately arrest every security forces agent whose participation in the ill treatment and torture has been proved.