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Dec-05-2013 09:10printcomments

Lebanon: Criminalize Torture

Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes Said Torture is widespread in the Lebanon.

Lebanon LBGT protest
In this Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009 picture, Lebanese police stand guard as protesters carry banners during a sit-in for gays and lesbians in Beirut. In February, about two dozen gays and lesbians held a rare sit-in on Beirut's major intersection of Sodeco to protest what they called the beating of two gay men by two plainclothes police. Police officials denied the men were beaten by their officers.
© 2009 AP Photo/Hussein Malla

(WASHINGTON, DC) - The police torture and ill-treatment are grounded in inadequate or badly implemented legal protection, a judicial emphasis on confessions over other types of evidence, a culture of impunity, and lack of proper oversight mechanisms.

Lebanese authorities should establish an independent complaints mechanism to investigate torture allegations, and donor countries should ensure that aid to the Internal Security Forces supports the establishment of real accountability mechanisms.

5th December 2013
Mr. Michel Suleiman,
President of the Republic,
Presidential Palace,
Fax: + 961 (0)5-922400

Re: Lebanon criminalize torture

Dear Mr. Michel Suleiman,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for

As we approach the International Human Rights Day on December 10, I join call upon the Lebanese authorities to criminalize the practice of torture.

Lebanon ratified the Convention against Torture in 2000 and reaffirmed its resolve to combat torture when acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture in 2008.

However, the practice of torture still prevails. Every year, hundreds of persons are tortured during the investigations or in detention places, for various reasons, and their lives remain forever altered by this traumatizing experience. Curbing down the practice of torture in Lebanon will never achieve results as long as the perpetrators are not properly prosecuted and punished.

Right now, the Lebanese legislation does not include a comprehensive definition of the crime of torture and fails to provide for appropriate punishment for those who commit torture.

I call upon the Members of the Parliament in Lebanon to enact the draft law on torture criminalization that has been under study by the Law and Administration Committee of the Parliament since December 2012 in a timely manner. I call on them as well to complete this process in the most transparent way, especially if substantial changes are to be introduced to the initial proposal.

According to the Convention against Torture, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

In addition to criminalizing torture in order to put an end to this inhumane practice, the law needs to reinforce the rule of law. Ceasing a culture of impunity among state institutions will allow human dignity to be upheld by duty bearers.

I want to draw your attention that local and international organization like Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH), Centre Nassim for the rehabilitation of victims of torture, ALEF – Act for Human Rights, Justice and Mercy Association (AJEM) , Alkarama Foundation ,Restart Center for the rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture andWorld Organization Against Torture (OMCT) has also urged you Lebanes authorities to criminalize Torture. Thanks you for your kind attention to this matter.

Yours Sincerely,
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for
Twitter @wnicholasgomes

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Prof Patt December 7, 2013 5:34 pm (Pacific time)

Torture of detainees by authorities is not acceptable. Although it may be unrealistic to expect to be able to punish perpetrators of past incidents, progress can be achieved by publishing a date, after which all allegations of torture will be investigated, and the alleged perpetrators prosecuted, if warrented. -- Prof Patt,

Thank you for dropping by Professor.

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