Rights groups on Wednesday called for an independent, transparent investigation into the deaths of Syrian refugees under torture in the prisons of the Lebanese army. They also called for holding those responsible to account.
Human Rights Watch and Lebanese NGO LIFE called for a full investigation to determine the circumstances behind the four deaths.
“In light of the army’s own admission that the health condition of the detainees deteriorated while in custody, a formal, transparent and independent investigation must be launched,” said Lama Fakih, HRW’s deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa. “In case of wrongdoing, those responsible for the deaths should be held accountable,” Fakih added.
On Monday, Syrian refugee camps in and around the town of Arsal in northeastern Lebanon were violently stormed and many young men were detained and tortured. Up to 19 refugees were killed during the storming and the ravaging carried out by the Hezbollah militias and units of the Lebanese army.
Ten more refugees were reportedly killed under torture after they have been detained. Over 350 refugees, mostly from the refugee camps in the Arsal area, have been detained.
The Syrian Coalition condemned in the strongest terms the horrific crimes in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon. It called for an urgent investigation into the circumstances of the crimes against the Syrian refugees so that perpetrators are held to account.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition stressed that lawyers should be allowed to carry out their duties, communicate with all the detainees, and verify the conditions of their detention. Bodies of the victims must be handed over to their families unconditionally and in accordance with standard legal proceedings, the Coalition said.
The Coalition called upon the United Nations, the UN Commission on Human Rights, and all relevant international organizations to take urgent action and assume their responsibilities to stop these violations and crimes and to hold those responsible accountable.
The Coalition rejected any attempts to justify violations and crimes against Syrian refugees under the pretext of “maintaining security” or eliminating terrorist threats in Lebanon and in the Syrian refugee camps in the Arsal area. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)