Tripoli Protesters Charged With “Terrorism” In Lebanon

Omar Ibrahim

The Lebanese Military Court has charged at least 6 of the detained Tripoli protesters with “terrorism and theft” on Monday morning, according to their lawyer Ayman Raad.

Raad, the lawyer representing them, told local media reporters that this would most probably be the case with all of the protesters currently detained, calling it unacceptable and oppressive.

“According to the analysis of the law, all of the detained protesters have been charged with terrorism and theft,” Raad said. “This is unacceptable, it’s a form of oppression from the military court to silence protesters on the ground.”

The lawyer went on to explain that the court views every Lebanese Shia and Sunni who opposes their sect’s official policies as terrorists.

According to Aya Majzoub, Lebanese researcher at the Human Rights Watch, the structure of Lebanon‘s military courts undermines the right to a fair trial, since many of the judges are military officers, appointed by the Defense Minister, and are not required to have any legal training to work as judges.

Individuals, who had previously faced the Lebanese military court, described to the Human Rights Watch organization the unfair and illegal treatment they were given.

Notably, detention and interrogation without being given the right to communicate with a lawyer, ill-treatment, and the use of confessions extracted under torture, including when the individuals are only children.

“Torture survivors described beatings, psychological torture, electric shocks, being hung by the wrists with their hands tied behind the back, and orders to sign statements while blindfolded,” Majzoub said. “In some of the cases, the coerced confession was the only evidence presented in the military court.”

Lebanese lawyers told the Human Rights Watch that “sentencing in the military courts is inconsistent and seemingly arbitrary, and that they have come to expect guilty sentences regardless of the evidence against their client.”

Over 30 people in Tripoli have been arrested by the Lebanese army, due to their alleged participation in multiple clashes when protesting the dire living conditions amid a nationwide pandemic.

The same civilians who are being charged with alleged terrorism and theft have been living under the poverty line, as the government failed to provide financial assistance to help them survive severe lockdown restrictions during a largely devastating economic crisis.

It is to note that these Lebanese civilians, who are neither ISIS nor were armed during their protest, are charged with an alleged crime deemed the worst in the country: Terrorism.

Those who had opposed them on the streets with weapons and live bullets, violating civic and human rights, were not charged nor trialed.

These military members intentionally abused their position of armed power by shooting live bullets at the civilians protesting, killing two civilians, one of whom was shot on the back.

These unjustified charges against civilians demanding their basic rights come during a time when the judiciary itself has not dared to charge one single senior official over the mass-murder, “terrorist act” of the Beirut blast, which killed over 200 innocent civilians, maimed over 1,000, burned down Lebanon’s main port, and shattered half the capital.

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