Amnesty International Briefing: Lebanon Torture Report

July 17, 2013

Amnesty International Briefing: Lebanon Torture Report

The clashes are reported to have resulted in the deaths of 18 army personnel and 28 supporters of al-Asseer, who has come to prominence for his vocal support of the Syrian armed opposition and for his campaigning against the Lebanese armed group Hizbullah. The Sidon clashes are seen by many as a spillover of the armed conflict in Syria, which has exacerbated already existing tensions between the main two political camps in Lebanon, the March 14 Alliance, which is opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the March 8 Alliance, which supports the Syrian President and includes Hizbullah.

Lebanese media reported on 4 July 2013 that Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr has charged 27 detainees held in relation to the Sidon clashes and another 10 individuals who remain at large – including al-Asseer – of forming an armed group with the purpose of carrying out crime against people and their property, undermining state authority and harming the image of the state.

Death in custody of Nader al-Bayoumi

Nader al-Bayoumi, born in Lebanon to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother, was in 'Abra during the clashes with the Lebanese army. According to his family, who spoke to Amnesty International, he was stuck there when the fighting erupted.

The family has told Amnesty International that the last time they heard from him was just after 14:00 on 24 June 2013 when he called his wife to tell her he was fine and that he was going to leave the area. A family member said that his brother called Nader al-Bayoumi's mobile phone just before 14:30, but that an unidentified man answered and asked about the identity of the caller, among other questions, leading the family to suspect that he had been arrested.

It is believed that Nader al-Bayoumi was arrested by soldiers. His family told Amnesty International that they received information from informal channels that their son was at one point held at the Mohammed Zgheib military base, the South Lebanon regional military command, in Sidon.

The day after his arrest, the family heard from acquaintances that their son had died. On the evening of 26 June, Nader al-Bayoumi's family received a phone call telling them to bring an ambulance to the Central Military Hospital in Beirut and collect his body the following morning. At the military hospital on 27 June 2013, the father was shown Nader al-Bayoumi's face to identify him and he was admonished by an officer responsible for handing him over the body saying: "You should have raised him properly so that he wouldn't have fought the army."

The military hospital has not given the family any written notification of Nader al-Bayoumi's death or any medical explanation of the cause of death, the family told Amnesty International. Also, a forensic pathologist commissioned by the family to examine their son's body refused to give them a medical report of his conclusions out of fear of persecution, they said.

A Europe-based forensic pathologist who reviewed seven images of Nader al-Bayoumi's corpse for Amnesty International concluded that the pattern of bruising on the body was consistent with assault and that internal haemorrhage may have been the cause of death.

In a written statement to Amnesty International, the forensic pathologist provided detailed conclusions:

"The photographs show fresh bruising to the body involving the bridge of the nose, left eye, left side of the face, right side of the jaw, right shoulder, upper arm and elbow, left upper arm, right hip, left side of the abdomen, the back, right shin and left knee. Bruising to the abdomen is particularly extensive. The bruises vary in size and shape but some are linear. Associated with some of the prominent bruises are grazes to the skin. Overall the pattern of bruising is assaultive and could not be explained by a simple fall or a series of falls. The pattern could not be explained by a road traffic accident or similar accident. The bruises are of a similar age suggesting that they were inflicted around the same time. Post-mortem staining of the back of the body by the gravitational pooling of blood is relatively scant which raises the possibility that death may have been the result of internal haemorrhage, most likely from the abdominal injury."