Humans Rights Watch Urges Lebanon To Enforce The Anti-Torture Law

AP/Hussein Malla

15 organizations, along with Human Rights Watch, urged Lebanese authorities on Monday to protect everyone from torture, ill-treatment, and cruel punishment, including people in detention centers.

In 2017, the country passed a law criminalizing torture. It then appointed 5 members in 2019 to form the National Preventative Mechanism against Torture (NPM). However, the Lebanese government is yet to approve a budget to allow the group to function effectively.

Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch, Aya Majzoub, said that although the country has criminalized torture and ill-treatment, it still “needs to show that it is serious about combatting torture, and it should start by moving forward the many torture complaints that have been languishing before the judiciary without effective investigations.”

Between October 2017 and March 2020, the Prison Committee of the Tripoli Bar Association (TBA) filed around 30 cases of torture, many of which were closed without investigation or a verdict.

Hassan Al-Dika, a 44-year-old man, passed away in detention in 2019 as a result of torture, and his case has not yet been investigated.

In 2018, Lebanese Actor Ziad Itani was detained in detention for allegedly spying on Israel, and claimed he was subjected to ill-treatment. He was later exonerated and released.

“The Lebanese authorities should promptly and impartially investigate all complaints of torture, allocate a sufficient budget to allow the torture prevention unit to get to work, and bring the anti-torture law in line with international standards,” Majzoub stressed.