Annual Report: Lebanon 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Lebanon 2010

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Arbitrary detentions

  • Yusef Cha'ban, a Palestinian refugee imprisoned for 15 years for murdering a Jordanian diplomat, was released on 13 July after President Michel Suleiman granted him a special pardon in recognition of the gross miscarriage of justice in his case. He had remained in prison even after a Jordanian court concluded in 2002 that others were responsible for the murder. Yusef Cha'ban had been sentenced in Lebanon by the Justice Council, a court whose judgments cannot be appealed or revoked. In 2006, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Yusef Cha'ban was arbitrarily detained.

Enforced disappearances and abductions

Thousands of cases of enforced disappearance and abduction carried out during the civil war remained unresolved. In October and November, however, a court issued preliminary decisions ordering the authorities to provide it with confidential findings of investigations conducted by the Official Commission of Investigation into the Fate of the Abducted and Disappeared Persons in 2000 and relating to two mass graves in Beirut. By the end of the year, the authorities had provided only a short medical report about one mass grave.

  • In November, DNA tests concluded that human remains found in the eastern town of Aita al-Foukhar included those of Alec Collett, a British journalist who was abducted, apparently by a Palestinian armed group, in 1985 and subsequently killed.

Alleged collaborators

Dozens of men and women suspected of spying for Israel were arrested by the authorities or handed over to them after being taken captive and interrogated by Hizbullah. At least two other men arrested in 2006 were tried for collaborating with Israel.

  • In August, Mahmoud Rafeh, a retired Internal Security Forces official, went on trial before a military tribunal in Beirut. He alleged that he was tortured in pre-trial detention and forced to "confess" by Military Intelligence officials. His trial was continuing at the end of the year.
  • Joseph Sader, an employee of Middle East Airlines, was abducted in February and remained held incommunicado by a non-state group who suspected him of providing information to Israel.

Death penalty

At least 40 men and one woman were under sentence of death at the end of the year. The last executions were carried out in 2004.

A draft law to abolish the death penalty proposed by Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar and submitted to the Council of Ministers in 2008 had not been approved by the end of 2009. The Minister pressed for the repeal of Penal Code articles that allow courts to impose death sentences.

Amnesty International reports

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon: Selective justice? (27 February 2009)
Lebanon: A human rights agenda for the elections (7 May 2009)