Statement on the Recent Attack on a Syrian Minor by a Municipal Police Officer
On February 12, 2023, a municipal police officer in Bezbina, D.S., brutally attacked fifteen-year-old Syrian refugee, G.B., whom he accused of stealing a wallet, which was used as a pretext for intervention.
According to the claim filed by the victim at the Beino police station in Akkar, he was kidnapped by D.S. during his work shift at a café on Sunday, after which the latter took him to a secluded area, beat him, threatened to kill him, and fired shots close to him. G.B. was additionally coerced into confessing that he stole the wallet, which was filmed by the municipal officer.
Bezbina’s municipality initially failed to take action and further investigate D.S.’s crime, as it resorted to covering for him and stating that “the incident was personal” and happened while the officer was off duty. The municipality additionally claimed that G.B. has a previous history of robbery, which his family disproves. Nevertheless, the municipal council later decided to dismiss D.S. from his duties as a municipal officer.
In light of the aforementioned, the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) emphasizes that no accusation can be used as a justification for human rights violations. CLDH additionally calls for further investigations into this attack to hold D.S. accountable for his actions under Law No. 65/2017 on Punishment of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Unless this culture of impunity is countered, Syrian refugees will continually risk falling victim to hate crimes and further marginalization, especially considering the recurring waves of racism against refugees in Lebanon.