Four human rights groups are calling on Lebanese authorities to try security force members charged in the torture and murder of a Syrian refugee in an ordinary criminal court.
The accused are due to be tried in a military court which Human Rights Watch (HRW) says lacks independence and whose judges have been appointed by the defense minister.
As military and security serving officers, military court judges do not have to have a law degree or legal training.
Thirty-year-old Bashar Abed Al Saud was tortured to death after he was arrested on 30 August this year by one of Lebanon’s intelligence agencies.
According to his family, security agents entered Shatila camp in Beirut and arrested Bashar without presenting a judicial arrest order. Several days later images of Bashar’s body circulated on social media and a state security officer and three other security members were charged with torture.
According to rights groups, crimes that members of the judicial police commit whilst assisting the public should fall under the jurisdiction of the ordinary judiciary, according to both international law and Lebanon’s Code of Criminal Procedure.
Bashar did not have a lawyer present during his interrogation and his family did not know where he was until 3 September when they received a call to say that his body was at the Tebneen Public Hospital.
“Al Saud’s death during his detention at State Security requires a fair and comprehensive investigation in front of the ordinary judiciary, as the military justice system cannot bring justice for his family,” said Ghida Frangieh, head of litigation at Legal Agenda, one of the four human rights organizations that signed the joint statement.
Other signatories include HRW, Amnesty International and MENA Rights Group.
Salim Idris, member of the Syrian Opposition Coalition’s political committee and director of the refugee affairs office welcomed the organizations’ statement. He stressed the need to hold those directly responsible for this heinous crime accountable, and to work to ensure that it does not happen again, especially in light of the presence of hundreds of Syrian detainees in Lebanese prisons.
Idris said that the frequent torture of detainees in Lebanese prisons requires international action to protect them and stop the ongoing violations against them. He pointed out that the arrests of Syrian refugees are not subject to international human rights standards, as they are carried out through the Hezbollah terrorist militia or the agencies controlled by this militia.
(Source: SOC’s media department)