Amnesty International Briefing: Lebanon Torture Report

July 17, 2013

Amnesty International Briefing: Lebanon Torture Report

On 27 June 2013, the Lebanese army issued a statement saying it would take "maximum disciplinary measures" against any soldier or military unit that had carried out a "security or ethical violation." Lebanese media also reported that the army said it had arrested those involved in the incident and had begun an investigation.

The second video emerged on 5 July 2013 showing a man lying on the ground face down with his hands tied behind his back as he was surrounded by soldiers. One soldier stepped on his head as another soldier whipped him repeatedly on his back with what appeared to be a plastic wire.

The Lebanese army issued another statement on 6 July 2013 saying it had arrested the soldiers in question and had begun conducting an investigation into the incident. It also said that it would take "the maximum behavioural and disciplinary penal measures" against the perpetrators.

The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Lebanon ratified in 2000, prohibits torture and other ill-treatment under all circumstances.

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Lebanon is also a state party, states that "anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him," and "shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power."

Three testimonies of torture and other ill-treatment Below are extracts of the testimonies of the three released detainees interviewed by Amnesty International. Amnesty International is withholding the identities of the individuals at their request.

First testimony

The first testimony is from a 15-year-old child who had left school and was working to support his family. He was arrested by the Lebanese army on 25 June and released two days later.

"I called my boss to see if I had to go to work, but he said that I didn't have to because of the tense situation. So I went to visit my uncle in the Villat area [in south-eastern Sidon] and, to reach there, I had to walk past a Lebanese army checkpoint. A soldier there called out to me so I approached him, took out my ID and handed it to him. The soldier immediately handcuffed me, pulled up my shirt and covered my face with it and walked me to nearby offices belonging to the same checkpoint… There several soldiers started slapping me and kicking me.

"They then dragged me to the officer, who was sitting behind his desk. My eyes were uncovered at this point. The officer told me I must confess. He then asked me questions: 'Did you fill up sandbags [for al-Asseer's armed supporters]?… Did you carry arms?…' Every time I said no, a soldier standing behind me would hit me with a belt on my back.

"The officer then started asking if I knew particular men. He mentioned many names, and every time I said I didn't know the person, the soldier would hit me with the belt on my back… One of the names he mentioned was my uncle's, so I told him he was my uncle. He asked me if he had any arms. I said, 'I swear I don't know,' so the soldiers started beating me really hard. Then they took me away to another army position in al-Miyye-w-Miyye in Sidon and, while I was waiting outside the officer's office, a few soldiers slapped me a few times only… - it wasn't bad - and asked me if I'd killed soldiers. Then I met the officer and he asked a few questions about where I was during the clashes. I told him I was not even in 'Abra [where the clashes had taken place] and I didn't leave home… I told him he could ask my mother. He did not hit me.

"Then I was taken in a vehicle and a soldier kept lowering my head… When I once tried to raise my head, he slapped me on my head and called me an animal… They took me to the Mohammed Zgheib military base [South Lebanon regional military command].

"I stood there not knowing where I was at first… There were men wearing plain clothes. I asked another detainee standing next to me, 'Where are we?' He said we were at the Army Intelligence.