Human Rights Watch Report Alleges Lebanese Military Tortured And Forcibly Detained COVID Lockdown Protestors

Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently reported that Lebanon’s military intelligence has “forcibly disappeared and allegedly tortured” lockdown protesters in Tripoli.

HRW said the Lebanese military prosecutor baselessly charged at least 35 people, including at least 2 children, with terrorism, forming criminal associations, and stealing public property during protests.

The protesters were allegedly tried at military courts which, under international law do not have jurisdiction over civilians.

“Lebanese authorities should address the legitimate grievances of people in Tripoli but instead they’ve escalated repression against a population fighting for a dignified life. The government needs to answer for disappearing and any torture of detainees and drop all unsubstantiated terrorism charges against them,” said Aya Majzoub, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch.

HRW said they have interviewed five detainees, the families of five protesters, two lawyers involved in the case, a judicial source, and Police Commander Major General Imad Othman.

Protester Ali Hashem, 34, said he was physically assaulted by officers from the Military Intelligence branch in Chtaura which was against the Turkish anti-torture law of 2017.

Among the 35, only four are confirmed to be detained, 19 have been released while the fate of the other 12 remained unknown because authorities refused to identify them.

The HRW added that the protesters were denied legal assistance and were detained in unsanitary cells.

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