Amnesty International Briefing: Lebanon Torture Report

July 17, 2013

Amnesty International Briefing: Lebanon Torture Report

"The soldier asked that we open the van's door, and asked each male employee to hand him their IDs and mobile phones. The soldier walked towards an officer and other soldiers and then came back and asked me to get out of the van.

"The officer and soldiers started to hit me and then a plain-clothed man with a gun on his waist punched me and told me to sit on the ground. I did and he continued beating me up. I said, 'Don't hit me. I didn't do anything.' Then he beat me even harder, with slaps, punches and kicks.

"There were another three detainees sitting near me. A soldier approached us, loaded the rifle and said, 'If I hear anyone speaking, I will shoot him.' We were later joined by another detainee, a Palestinian.

"I then asked the soldiers to speak with my father to tell him that I had been arrested. They said, 'Your phone is with us and it's a phone that raises suspicions.' I said, 'What does that mean?' So, one soldier slapped me twice on the face.

"Then they threw me and the other detainees into a military Hummer. We were thrown on top of each other and I was at the top. The soldiers sat on us and started hitting us with heavy military shields as well as their hands until we reached al-Rmeileh military base.

"Every time I said 'Ya watan [an expression used when addressing soldiers], stop hitting me!', he would hit me harder.' At one point, he loaded the rifle and threatened to shoot me if I raised my head. I would place my arm over my head to protect myself, but he would remove it.

"Throughout our journey from the checkpoint till we reached the military base, which lasted around 10 minutes, the soldiers accused us of supporting al-Asseer and of killing soldiers.

"We arrived at al-Rmeileh military base and we were dragged inside and covered our faces. They pushed us on top of each other on the first floor and took me for interrogation. They ordered me to kneel and tied my hands behind my back. I was not blindfolded, but they kept hitting me on my head to keep it down. Then they asked me to stand up and started hitting me here and there. Then one started asking me questions, including about the contents of my phone. They asked me about photos of damaged buildings and cars taken after the Sidon clashes; I told them that it was a What's App news group and that I was a group member.

"He asked who had set up the group and I gave him the name of someone from [former Prime Minister Sa'ad al-Hariri's] Future Movement. He said,'The Future Movement belongs to Ahmed al-Asseer.' I said it did not. So he said, 'Yes, it does,' and hit me on my mouth. So I said that I did not know to avoid more beatings.

"Then they asked me to walk around 20 metres, ordered me to take off my shoes, shirt and trousers. I refused to take off my trousers. They asked me to sit on the floor, which I did. Then the plain-clothed man asked me to put my hands over my head and then he placed the shoes on my head. I stayed like this for two minutes and then a soldier said to me: 'We are going to release you but you'll have to delete the photos on your phone.' And they gave me back the phone.

"On my way out, I saw a youth, who had no facial hair yet, being brought in as he was being hit on his neck."

Third testimony

The third testimony is from a 23-year-old man who recounted to Amnesty International his experiences during three days of detention by the Lebanese army.

"On Monday [24 June], I chatted with the soldiers near my home in the afternoon and offered them water. Then at night at around 20:00 in al-Villat area [southern Sidon], I went in my car to get dinner for my family and was stopped at al-Naba'a checkpoint.

"The soldier there asked for my ID and asked me to open the car boot. Another soldier came and spoke to him in a low voice. He then told me to park my car and to get out. He told me to put my hands on my head and walk in front of him.