The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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October 31, 2011

Iloubnan - Jarrah refuses to bypass STL, October 31, 2011

Future bloc member MP Jamal Jarrah confirmed Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" radio station that his party would refuse any invitation to circumvent international tribunal and its funding. "We will refuse dialogue invitation if it is to evade tribunal", the MP said, but he added that they would accept the invitation if it is to execute what they (March 14) agreed on. He said  that dialogue table reached consensual decisions and remained without execution for reasons known by March 8.

Iloubnan - No quick solution for STL funding, says Asswad, October 31, 2011

MP Ziad Aswad confirmed to "Voice of Lebanon" radio station on Monday that there is no quick solution for the STL issue amid severe dispute between the two parties inside the cabinet.
The MP called on every person in the cabinet to lay his cards on the table and vote for the STL funding.
"There is a big problem among our group, the president's group and who demands STL funding", he said.
  Aswad stressed that "Change and Reform bloc members are with tribunal if it seeks justice".
Commenting on MP Walid Jumblatt's position concerning STL funding, Aswad said that "Jumblatt did not leave March 14 in the first place".

Naharnet - Cabinet to Discuss Electoral Law, ESCWA HQ on Tuesday, October 31, 2011

W460
The cabinet is scheduled to discuss the parliamentary elections draft law and several other issues during a session at Baabda palace on Tuesday.
The government has 79 items on its agenda. In addition to the electoral law, ministers are expected to discuss a suggestion by the foreign ministry to rent the Coral Beach building and turn it into a temporary headquarters for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
The cost would be around 7 million dollars yearly, As Safir said, adding that the amount is much less than the rent of the current ESCWA headquarters in downtown Beirut.
The foreign ministry’s proposal calls for opening credits to build a new HQ for the U.N. in Dbayeh despite another suggestion to construct a single building that would host all of the 14 U.N. agencies.
That project would cost around 160 million dollars, As Safir said, adding that it has been suspended for its high cost. “The state treasury cannot alone afford it and Lebanon should get financial support from abroad to build the center.”
Ministerial sources expected the cabinet to discuss the issue of wages.

Naharnet - STL Funding Consultations to Gain Momentum after Eid al-Adha, October 31, 2011


W460
Consultations between the major parties represented in the cabinet over the funding of the international tribunal are expected to gain “serious momentum” following Eid al-Adha over the weekend, ministerial sources said.
The sources told An Nahar daily on Monday that all officials involved in the funding are now aware of the serious consequences if the cabinet fails to fund by the end of November the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that is set to try ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s suspected assassins.
They warned that after that date the international community would start to consider the government’s procrastination as an attempt to target the STL and escape from its dues.
Lebanon should pay an annual share to the court in 2011 of about $33 million or 49 percent of the court's budget. But the cabinet’s Hizbullah-led March 8 sources have rejected to fund the STL despite insistence by the centrists, including PM Najib Miqati, to pay Lebanon’s dues.
On Sunday, Miqati told An Nahar that he expected a positive outcome from the consultations between the different government members. The sources said that the prime minister’s positive expectations will go hand-in-hand with his scheduled trip to Britain over the weekend.
They expected the month of November to witness a solution to the funding crisis by a series of financial steps that the cabinet would take or by putting the issue up to vote

Naharnet - Syrian Arms Smuggler Arrested at Beirut Airport, October 31, 2011


W460
Security authorities at Rafik Hariri International Airport have arrested a Syrian national accused of smuggling weapons, Voice of Lebanon radio station (93.3) reported Monday.
VDL said Mohammed Shaker Toufiq was arrested in the early hours of Monday.
The news came two days after the General Security Department confirmed the arrest of another Syrian citizen on charges of arms smuggling.
In a communiqué issued late Saturday, the department’s general directorate dismissed a report by Future TV that Amer Omar Adib was arrested “without any justification.”
The General Security Department arrested Adib on charges of smuggling arms between Syria and Lebanon and was referred to the judiciary after he admitted to the charges, the communiqué said.
A security source dismissed to An Nahar daily on Monday what he called the “misleading” campaign against General Security.
He said Adib is part of a ring that extorts money from Syrian expatriates in a Gulf country and buys light weapons and ammunition from the Lebanese black market.
The arms are later transported to a Lebanese-Syrian border area in the eastern Bekaa Valley and handed to smugglers who would transfer them to areas witnessing security incidents in Syria.

Naharnet - Suleiman Says Lebanon ‘Should Fund’ STL, Rules Out Threats, October 31, 2011


W460
President Michel Suleiman stressed on Monday that Lebanon “should fund” the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ruling out any threat if the cabinet doesn’t pay Lebanon’s share to the court.
In remarks to Ad-Diyar daily, Suleiman said that Lebanon is characterized by its commitment to the United Nations legitimacy and its international resolutions.
There is no alternative to this commitment to protect Lebanon and its stability, he said.
“We should fund the tribunal and funding it doesn’t mean that we would give up our criticism of it if it makes mistakes,” Suleiman told Ad-Diyar. “It made a mistake in leaking the investigation and the indictment.”
Asked if Lebanese officials had received any warnings if they failed to fund the STL, Suleiman abruptly said: “I am Lebanon’s president and no one threatens me or warns me.”
“There is a diplomatic way in asking about Lebanon’s stance from the implementation of international resolutions,” he stressed.
Lebanon’s annual share to the Netherlands-based tribunal for 2011 amounts to about $33 million or 49 percent of the court's budget. The STL has indicted four Hizbullah members in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s Feb. 2005 assassination case.
The party and its ally the Free Patriotic Movement have rejected to fund the court while Suleiman, Premier Najib Miqati and Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat have called for paying Lebanon’s share to preserve stability.
Asked about the latest approval of promotions of police officers ranked lieutenant colonel and below, Suleiman denied accusations that he didn’t promote Internal Security Forces Information Branch head Col. Wissam al-Hassan to take revenge on certain parties.
“This is not true because I have previously signed two decrees to promote al-Hassan,” he told Ad-Diyar.
Suleiman also denied that he was at loggerheads with FPM chief Michel Aoun over the Christian posts in state institutions.
He said the delay in appointing Christian civil servants to several top posts was the result of the involved ministers’ procrastination in announcing their candidates.

Daily Star - Delegation following Sadr case returns from Libya, October 31, 2011

BEIRUT: A Lebanese Foreign Ministry delegation following up on the case of the disappearance of the influential Imam Musa al-Sadr returned to Lebanon from Libya Sunday.
The delegation included Foreign Affairs Minister General Director Haissam Jomaa and judge Hasan al-Shami, who held meetings with several Libyan ministers, officials and members of the Libyan National Transitional Council.
Jomaa declined to speak to reporters upon arrival at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport. The delegation traveled to Libya on Oct. 23, days after deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed by rebels.
The relationship between Lebanon and Libya had been severed under Gadhafi’s rule but reversed under the NTC. Sadr, a charismatic leader and one of the pioneers of Shiite empowerment in Lebanon, Sheikh Mohammad Yaacoub and journalist Abbas Badreddine were in Libya on an official visit in 1978 when they disappeared.

Daily Star - Schools enrolling more displaced Syrian students, October 31, 2011


HERMEL, Lebanon: Public and private schools in the Bekaa and North Lebanon are seeing a jump this academic year in the enrollment of Syrian students, many of whom were forced to leave their hometowns near the Syrian-Lebanese border following months of clashes between the Syrian army and civilians in the area.
The principal of Arsal Public Intermediary School, Mohammad Rayed, said that all seven schools in the village have enrolled displaced Syrian students who left the Syrian villages of Deir Atieh and Flita, located several kilometers from Arsal.
According to Rayed, a number of Syrian workers in Arsal also sent for their families who reside in the Syrian cities of Homs, Hama, and Daraa and enrolled them in the village schools.
Parents who wish to enroll their children must have a document issued by the Lebanese General Security that shows proof of their legal entry into the country, Rayed stressed, adding that the registration fees are being paid by some benefactors if parents cannot afford them.
“The average number of Syrian students per school ranges between 20 and 30 students,” Rayed said. “School principals in the village enroll students at their schools according to an official [Syrian] document attesting to the student’s level of education.”
If parents don’t have possession of the documents, students are required to sit for an entrance exam to determine their appropriate grade, Rayed said.
In response to the influx of displaced Syrian students, Education Minister Hassan Diab issued a circular to all Lebanese schools earlier this month, giving them permission to enroll Syrian students and allowing them to take into consideration their parents’ difficulty in submitting required documents.
The circular also requested that school administrations provide the ministry with the names of displaced students and expressed the need to provide the best conditions for them.
Many Lebanese families who live in Syrian border villages and were forced to return to Lebanon have also enrolled their children in schools in the Baalbek, Hermel, and Akkar regions.
According to Rayed, one problem facing Syrian students who are attending Lebanese schools is the difference in the two countries’ curriculum, especially the language of instruction.
“In Lebanese schools, students must learn either English or French language while learning a foreign language remains optional in Syria, and this creates a problem, especially for students who are in higher grades,” Rayed said, adding that science is taught in either French or English in Lebanese schools while Arabic is used in Syrian schools.
For his part, the principal of Hermel Intermediary School, Hadi Assi, said that 25 Lebanese students who reside in the border village of al-Qaser, north of Hermel, have enrolled at his school.
Like Arsal, all of Hermel’s public and private schools have admitted Syrian students at all academic levels, from kindergarten to high school, Assi said, adding that there are between 700 to 800 Syrian students registered in Bekaa schools.
The Akkar town of Wadi Khaled has witnessed the largest number of displaced Syrians, many of whom are housed in three centers that provide shelter for 150 to 200 displaced persons, said Mustafa Halloum, a Syrian lawyer from the Syrian town of Talkalakh who is currently living in one the centers.
Most of the children of the displaced families living in these centers are not registered in any of the area’s schools because there are too many children and they don’t have the help they need to enroll them, Halloum said.
“The children in our center are not registered in schools mainly because parents cannot afford to pay tuition fees and due to the lack of transportation, as the center is far from the nearest school,” he said, citing the children’s difficulty integrating as another issue that prevents them from enrolling.
“There are more than 50 students at the center who are not registered in schools and we haven’t received any assistance so far in order to enroll them,” Halloum said.
He argued that an even bigger issue is that many displaced Syrians in Lebanon are not recognized as refugees and thus cannot receive assistance by the UNHCR or civil society organizations in the country.




Daily Star - Syrian arrested in Beirut on arms smuggling charges, October 31, 2011

BEIRUT: A Syrian national was arrested at Beirut airport overnight for his alleged involvement in arms smuggling from Lebanon to Syria, security sources told The Daily Star Monday.They said Mohammad Shaker Bashlah, 28, who was preparing to fly to Riyadh, was arrested late Sunday.Weapons smuggling across the border to Syria is reported to have increased substantially since the beginning of the uprising there.

Daily Star - Funding STL essential for stability in Lebanon: Jumblatt, October 31, 2011

By Wassim Mroueh
ALEY, Lebanon: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said Sunday that funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was essential for stability in the country and maintained his call for an end to Syria’s crackdown on the popular uprising.Jumblatt made his remarks while chairing a PSP general assembly in the mountain town of Aley, where he also said that he would not compete for PSP president when elections are next held.
“We stress that funding the tribunal is a fundamental and essential principle that leads to stability and at the same time we understand Hezbollah’s sensitivity over the potential politicization [of the tribunal],” said Jumblatt. “I was among the first who criticized its politicization when some of the tribunal’s findings were leaked through Der Spiegel and other international media outlets.”
The funding of the STL, which was established by the U.N. to try the assassins of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other figures, is a source of contention in the Cabinet.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati is under pressure from the opposition March 14 parties and world powers to honor Lebanon’s commitments to U.N. resolutions, including Resolution 1757, which established the tribunal.
But Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah was adamant last week that his party, which dominates the Cabinet along with its allies, was opposed to Lebanon paying its share, amounting to more than $30 million, to the STL. Hezbollah has described the court as “an Israeli-American” tool targeting the resistance. The STL indicted four members from the party in Hariri’s assassination in early summer, with the party strongly denying any involvement.
Jumblatt highlighted the significance of the resistance’s arms in defending Lebanon against Israel.
The PSP leader said it was necessary that Lebanese leaders resume sessions of the National Dialogue Committee to agree on a national defense strategy “because the principle of the state remains the first and last guarantee for everybody, the people and resistance.”
At the beginning of his speech, Jumblatt asked attendees to observe a minute of silence to honor the “martyrs of Arab revolutions” in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.
Addressing more than 500 PSP members, including veterans, MPs and ministers who had gathered to elect a new command council, Jumblatt made what he called “recommendations” on the situation in the Arab world in general, touching on the ongoing unrest in Syria and the situation in Palestine, along with PSP affairs.
The Chouf MP reiterated calls for the Syrian regime to end its brutal crackdown against the uprising, which has challenged the rule of President Bashar Assad’s regime for more than eight months, and called for dialogue between the regime and the opposition. He also called for trying those responsible for the killing of civilians and security forces.
Jumblatt endorsed the Arab League’s calls for both sides in Syria to hold talks in Cairo under its auspices. Jumblatt said that Lebanon’s security was intertwined with Syria’s, a fact he said required ending the smuggling of arms from Lebanon to Syria, “if it exists.” However, Jumblatt rejected incursions across Lebanon’s borders by Syrian troops under any circumstances.
The Syrian army crossed the border with Lebanon several times in October, killing a Syrian farmer in one of the incidents.
Jumblatt said he supported providing aid for Syrian refugees who fled unrest in their country to north Lebanon and urged Lebanese security bodies to respect the right of some Syrian dissidents to seek political asylum in Lebanon and express their opinion, but not to carry out aggressive acts against Syria.
“I say so because the disappearance of Shibli Aisamy and others at the hands of Lebanese ‘Shabbiha’ and officials, who seem to be from a diplomatic mission, is unacceptable,” Jumblatt said. “Shabbiha” is a term used to describe pro-Assad gunmen who are taking part in the crackdown on demonstrators in Syria.
In May, Aisamy, an 86-year-old Syrian dissident, was abducted in Aley.
During a meeting of Parliament’s human rights committee in early October, head of the Internal Security Forces, Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, expressed his belief that Aisamy, along with three Syrian brothers from the Jasem family who disappeared in February, had been kidnapped by members of the ISF who work at the Syrian Embassy in Beirut.
Jumblatt, who won the PSP presidency uncontested Sunday, promised this was the last time he would run for the post.
“This is the last time I am a candidate. The command council to be elected today will be considered a transitional council … that prepares for new elections,” he said. “I hope this will not take more than one year … After that, the way will be open for any comrade wishing to run for the presidency to submit his candidacy.”
Jumblatt urged supporters “to get out of their heads” the idea that his son would replace him in PSP’s top post, adding, however, that his parliamentary seat and the role of the Jumblatt family was “a personal and political matter, which will be discussed in relevant circles. But for sure I say no to the inheritance of posts.”
Jumblatt said that from now on, there would be no appointments in the PSP as all officials would be elected. The party had previously used both methods.
Lowering party membership age from 20 to 18 and reducing the term of the command council from four to three years were also among Jumblatt’s announcements.
Jumblatt became the PSP’s leader following the assassination of his father, Kamal, on March 16, 1977.
“Arab tyranny killed Kamal Jumblatt,” Jumblatt said, implicitly referring to the Syrian regime.
Jumblatt’s eldest son Taymour, who is widely believed to be the heir apparent, did not attend the general assembly.
The results of the elections were announced in the afternoon, with a number of young PSP members joining the 12-member command council.
Jumblatt’s decision not to run in the future or be replaced by his son created mixed reactions among PSP members.
“There are young people who joined the party based on its principles and support such a move,” Rayan Ashkar, the secretary-general of the PSP’s Progressive Youth Organization, told The Daily Star. “But to be honest, some party officials consider the leader as sacred and might reject the idea that he will not run anymore for the presidency.”

Daily Star - Protests to free prisoners could turn into riots, October 31, 2011

BEIRUT: Protests demanding general amnesty for prisoners in Lebanon planned for this week have the potential to turn into nationwide riots, security sources told The Daily Star.
The committee of prisoners’ families is preparing to hold demonstrations Tuesday starting 6 a.m., asking for a general amnesty or for a reduction of criminal charges’ sentences, the sources added.
According to secret notices that were distributed to supporters, protesters will gather at Rafik Hariri International Airport highway at the intersection of the Palestinian refugee camp of Burj al-Barajneh, Mar Mikhail church, Msharafiyyeh, Tayyouneh, Sayyad, Aley highway and near the prisons of Zahle and Tripoli.
A note at the bottom of the statement called on protesters to cooperate with the Lebanese Army.
Sources told The Daily Star, however, that the group’s intention to cooperate with authorities was thrown into questions by information that Khodr Daher, the head of the committee, was contacted by the outlawed Islamist group, Fatah al-Islam, and members of Jund al-Sham, also an Islamist group
The two groups informed Daher that they were intending to take part in the demonstrations and clash with the Army in order to create commotion that could escalate into armed acts as well as in the Palestinian refugee camps of Nahr al-Bared, Shatila, Burj al-Barajneh and Ain al-Hilweh, along with Tripoli, Sidon and the Anjar-Damascus highway in general.
The Lebanese Army crushed Fatah al-Islam members in Nahr al-Bared in clashes that lasted throughout summer 2007 which reduced the camp to rubble.
The committee includes Vice President Hussein Dandash, Ali Khalil, Madar Zeaiter, Mohammad Saheli, Hala Shehade, Ali Sharif, Ali Qahmaz, Mahmoud Nemri, Nour Sabra, a media official, and lawyers Toufic Dika, Said Alameh, Joseph Ghsaiby, Mohammad Safi, Ghada Eid and Fadi Haidar, the committee’s spokesperson.
Some groups were spotted filling mini-buses and trucks with tires to be used to block roads.
The sources added that starting Monday, inmates of Roumieh prison will begin an open-ended hunger strike and some are planning to take members of the Internal Security Forces hostage in parallel to the events outside.
Roumieh prison saw riots in April that claimed the three lives, as inmates protested chronic overcrowdedness and called for accelerating their trials.
An Interior Ministry report in September recommended the establishment of an emergency board of representatives from seven ministries to ameliorate prison conditions.

Now Lebanon - Jarrah: Future bloc to refuse dialogue if against STL funding, October 31, 2011

Future bloc MP Jamal Jarrah said on Monday that his bloc “will refuse all calls for dialogue if the session aims at [maneuvering against] funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon [STL],” which is probing the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
“If the call for dialogue is to implement what was agreed upon during the last dialogue session, then the Future bloc will accept it,” he told the Voice of Lebanon (100.5) radio.
Speaker Nabih Berri in an interview with Al-Jumhuriya newspaper published on Monday reiterated his call for a new national dialogue session, “especially amidst the dangerous time that the region is going through.”
The Hezbollah-led March 8 parties – which currently dominate Lebanon’s cabinet – have opposed a clause in the Lebanese annual state budget pertaining to the funding of the UN-backed court, while Mikati has repeatedly voiced Lebanon’s commitment to the tribunal.
Four Hezbollah members have been indicted by the STL in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. However, the Shia group strongly denied the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court.
Lebanon contributes 49 percent of the STL’s annual funding.

Now Lebanon - An-Nahar: Sanctions to target Hezbollah alone if government fails to fund STL, October 31, 2011

An-Nahar newspaper reported on Monday that “in case the Lebanese government refuses to fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) the international sanctions will not target Lebanon as a country, they will target businessmen and institutions directly or indirectly related to Hezbollah.”
The daily also said that Hezbollah’s command is aware of these reports, and has started to address them seriously.
US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly warned last week that a failure by Beirut to meets its obligation to the STL could lead to “serious consequences.”
The Hezbollah-led March 8 parties – which currently dominate Lebanon’s cabinet – have opposed a clause in the Lebanese annual state budget pertaining to the funding of the UN-backed court, while Mikati has repeatedly voiced Lebanon’s commitment to the tribunal.
Four Hezbollah members have been indicted by the STL in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. However, the Shia group strongly denied the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court.
Lebanon contributes 49 percent of the STL’s annual funding.

Now Lebanon - Sleiman: Lebanon ‘must’ pay share of STL funding, October 31, 2011

President Michel Sleiman said in remarks published Monday that Lebanon must pay its share of funding to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), adding that funding does not mean “not criticizing the tribunal if it makes mistakes.”
Sleiman told Ad-Diyar newspaper that the STL committed a mistake “when it leaked the investigation, and the indictment.”
Asked if Lebanese officials have received warnings related to not paying Lebanon’s share of STL funding, Sleiman said “I am the president of the Lebanese Republic. No one threatens or warns me.”
He added that a certain diplomatic way has to be taken when asking about Lebanon’s position regarding implementing international decisions.
Four Hezbollah members have been indicted by the UN-backed court in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. However, the Shia group strongly denied the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court
Lebanon contributes 49 percent of the STL’s annual funding.
The president also rejected some MPs’ statements that he did not sign a decree promoting Internal Security Forces-Information Branch head Colonel Wissam al-Hassan for “malicious reasons,” adding that he had previously signed two decrees promoting Hassan.
The president signed on Friday a decree to promote officers below the rank of colonel.
Sleiman also denied that there is a dispute between him and Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun regarding Christian positions in certain institution.
-NOW Lebanon

Now Lebanon - Qadiri: Hezbollah working to overthrow the STL, October 31, 2011

Future bloc MP Ziad al-Qadiri said in an interview published on Monday that Hezbollah is trying to establish ties with Russia and China in order to overthrow the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
“For this reason Hezbollah delegation visited Russia, and will soon visit China,” Qadiri told As-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.
The MP also said that “until further notice, Prime Minister Najib Mikati is a main partner in the conspiracy against the STL.”
The Hezbollah-led March 8 parties – which currently dominate Lebanon’s cabinet – have opposed a clause in the Lebanese annual state budget pertaining to the funding of the UN-backed court, while Mikati has repeatedly voiced Lebanon’s commitment to the tribunal.
Four Hezbollah members have been indicted by the STL in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. However, the Shia group strongly denied the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court.
Lebanon contributes 49 percent of the STL’s annual funding.

Now Lebanon - Charbel: Electoral law awaits ‘political decision’ to be finalized, October 31, 2011

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said in remarks published on Monday that the electoral draft law prepared by his ministry is “currently present on the cabinet’s agenda, and awaits a political decision to be finalized.”
On October 3, Charbel handed Sleiman a draft electoral law based on proportional representation.
Lebanese parties are debating the electoral law for the upcoming 2013 parliamentary elections. After the parliament agreed on drafting a law based on proportional representation, some parties rejected the proposed law and called for adopting the 2009 electoral law, which is based on simple majority representation.
Addressing the country’s security situation, the minister told Al-Mustaqbal newspaper that the security situation is “good” despite some “daily incidents.”
He also said that the number of police officers assigned to limit security problems is not enough, since most members of the police force “serve ministers, MPs and judges… instead of [being free] to protect security.”
Asked about Friday’s report that Syrian nationals were abducted in Bir Hassan, Charbel said investigations showed that it was not the case of an abduction.
“There was no kidnapping; they returned home safely. According to the statement they gave in the Bir Hassan [police station], they confirmed they were robbed and not kidnapped.”
Syrian national Idriss al-Sahen said on Friday that his brothers Mustafa and Yassine as well as their friend Issa Saleh were kidnapped from Bir Hassan.

L'Orient le jour - Affaire Karam : Siniora dénonce le mutisme du Hezbollah, October 31, 2011

Abordant ensuite le dossier du financement du Tribunal spécial pour le Liban, M. Siniora a rappelé les circonstances dans lesquelles ce tribunal a été formé. Il a indiqué à ce propos que si le gouvernement libanais s’est adressé au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU pour obtenir la mise sur pied du TSL, c’est parce que le Parlement avait été fermé et paralysé sous la contrainte (du fait de l’attitude obstructionniste du président de la Chambre et du 8 Mars, en général, entre 2006 et 2008). « Le Parlement a été fermé lorsque nous avons transmis au Parlement le projet de création du tribunal, a souligné M. Siniora. Au lieu de débattre au sein de l’Assemblée de chaque clause en rapport avec le tribunal, ils ont fermé le Parlement et nous avons été contraints de nous adresser au Conseil de sécurité (...). Tout le monde comprend maintenant pourquoi le Parlement a ainsi été fermé. »
M. Siniora a par ailleurs rappelé que la formation du tribunal avait été approuvée par toutes les factions locales, sans exception, dans le cadre de la conférence de dialogue et des déclarations ministérielles des gouvernements qui se sont succédé depuis. Après avoir souligné que la part du Liban dans le financement du TSL est une dette dont le gouvernement libanais est obligé de s’acquitter, M. Siniora a invité le Premier ministre Nagib Mikati et le président Michel Sleiman à cesser de tergiverser et à trancher définitivement pour que le Liban respecte ses engagements sur ce plan. En conclusion, M. Siniora s’est élevé contre le fait que certaines parties au sein du gouvernement (dans une allusion au Hezbollah et au CPL) proclament publiquement leur refus de collaborer avec le TSL et d’en assurer le financement tout en restant au sein du gouvernement.
Le chef du bloc parlementaire du courant du Futur, Fouad Siniora, s’est élevé contre le mutisme observé par le Hezbollah au sujet de l’affaire du général à la retraite Fayez Karam, proche collaborateur du chef du CPL, Michel Aoun, condamné par le tribunal militaire pour collaboration avec Israël. M. Siniora, qui s’exprimait devant des délégations populaires qu’il a reçues à Helaliyé (à l’est de Saïda), a rappelé sur ce plan que les dirigeants du Hezbollah avaient souligné à plusieurs reprises que les personnes reconnues coupables de collaboration avec l’État hébreu devaient être condamnées aux peines les plus sévères, notamment à la peine de mort. « Sans aller jusque-là (la peine de mort), nous ne comprenons pas le silence observé par le Hezbollah au sujet de cette affaire », a déclaré M. Siniora qui a dénoncé à cet égard la politique de deux poids, deux mesures suivie par le parti chiite concernant l’attitude à adopter à l’égard des collaborateurs avec Israël. Il a déploré que le Hezbollah passe outre à une position de principe dans une affaire aussi grave pour ménager ses alliances politiques.


October 30, 2011

Naharnet - ISF Thwart Escape Attempt by Roumieh Prison Inmate, October 30, 2011

W460
Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau thwarted a break out attempt by an inmate at Roumieh prison, the National News Agency reported on Saturday.The inmate was being transferred from the prison to Dahr al-Basheq Hospital after he injured himself with a sharp object, the NNA said.The prisoner had agreed with his father to help him facilitate his escape after distracting the guards at the hospital.The inmate and his father were detained and referred to the relevant judicial authority.Roumieh, the oldest and largest of Lebanon's overcrowded prisons, has witnessed sporadic prison breaks in recent years and escalating riots over the past months as inmates living in poor conditions demand better treatment.

Naharnet - Search Results Moscow Calls for Resignation of Lebanese Cabinet if it Fails to Fund STL , October 30, 2011


W460
Russia has informed Hizbullah that the March 8 forces should resign from the government and form a new cabinet that remains committed to international resolutions if the Shiite party and its allies rejected to fund the international tribunal, diplomatic sources said.
The sources told An Nahar daily published Sunday that Moscow’s stance was announced during a meeting last week between the Russian deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, and a Hizbullah delegation led by MP Mohammed Raad.
The meeting lasted only 40 minutes and not two and a half hours as media reports in Beirut said, the sources stressed.
“The government that includes both Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement should resign, and let a new cabinet that abides by Lebanon’s commitments be formed,” they quoted Bogdanov as telling the delegation when it stressed that the Shiite party and the FPM reject the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
The sources also said that Moscow tasked its ambassador in Beirut, Alexander Zasypkin, to inform Lebanese officials that Lebanon should fulfill its commitments toward the STL that is set to try ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s suspected assassins.
Zasypkin is relaying to the officials the warning that the U.N. Security Council which has established the tribunal through a resolution would implement sanctions against Lebanon if it fails to fund the STL.
The sources stressed that Russia remains committed to its stance that the court should be allowed to carry out its work under the best circumstances and that the criminals in Hariri’s case and other assassinations should be punished.

Naharnet - Miqati Stresses on Stability, Hopes for ‘Positive Outcome’ in STL Funding, October 30, 2011


W460
Premier Najib Miqati stressed on Sunday that his cabinet’s main objective is to guarantee stability in Lebanon and expressed hope that consultations between Lebanese officials on the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon would lead to a “positive outcome.”
“One of the major objectives of this government is to achieve stability because it is the key to all proposed projects for reform, investment and economic growth,” Miqati told Tele Liban.
In remarks to An Nahar newspaper, Miqati said: “We shouldn’t anticipate things. We have enough time to continue with the contacts that we started which we hope would lead to a positive outcome and the anticipated solution.”
His comment comes amid a struggle between Miqati, President Michel Suleiman and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat, who have backed the funding of the STL, and Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement who have rejected to pay more than $33 million of Lebanon’s share.
When asked by An Nahar to unveil what stage the consultations on the STL funding have reached, Miqati said it would be useless to discuss about the efforts to clinch a deal to fund the STL before any official agreement between the cabinet’s major representatives.
He stressed that not a single official who has rejected to fund the court, mainly Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, “has shut the door to any solution.”
“The door remains open,” Miqati told the daily.
The STL has charged four Hizbullah operatives in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's Feb. 2005 assassination.
The prime minister refused to comment on “a lot of talk” about his meeting with former Premier Saad Hariri in Riyadh earlier this week during the funeral of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz.
He only said that they met during the condolences and “it is natural to exchange handshakes.”
The relations between the two men deteriorated when Miqati accepted the nomination of Hizbullah and the March 8 forces earlier this year after they toppled Hariri’s cabinet.
Meanwhile, Miqati’s sources refused to comment on FPM chief Michel Aoun’s criticism, reiterating that the prime minister doesn’t want to argue with any official.
“Let the public opinion judge his performance,” the sources said.
Aoun told Hizbullah’s al-Manar TV on Friday that Miqati was targeting him.
“I’m not targeting Miqati, he’s the one targeting me. I’m telling him about the wrongdoings and he’s not addressing them. How does he want to gain popularity? By protecting violations?,” Aoun asked.

Naharnet - General Security Confirms Arrest of Syrian for Smuggling Arms, October 30, 2011

W460
The General Security Department has confirmed the arrest of a Syrian national but said the man was seized on charges of weapons smuggling.In a communiqué issued late Saturday, the department’s general directorate dismissed a report by Future TV that Amer Omar Adib was arrested “without any justification.” The General Security Department arrested Adib on charges of smuggling arms between Syria and Lebanon and was referred to the judiciary after he admitted to the charges, the communiqué said.It urged media outlets to be meticulous in their security reports to preserve their credibility and avoid stirring confusion.

Now Lebanon - Mikati: No one has ruled out solution to STL funding issue, October 30, 2011

Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that “no one” has ruled out a solution to the issue of providing the government’s annual share of funding to the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
“No one, including Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has ruled out a solution to the issue,” Mikati said in an interview with An-Nahar newspaper published on Sunday.
He added that he was “not surprised” by Nasrallah’s latest position regarding the tribunal’s funding, a reference to the Hezbollah chief’s Monday interview in which he rejected to fund the STL.
Asked about the “mechanism” that will be used in order to resolve the STL funding dispute, the PM said, “We should not anticipate events…We have enough time to [continue] our talks and we hope to reach positive outcomes.”
Hezbollah and other Syrian-backed March 8 parties and figures have spoken out against Lebanon’s ties and funding for the tribunal and called it a tool to incite sectarian strife in Lebanon, however, Mikati has repeatedly voiced Lebanon’s commitment to the tribunal.
Four Hezbollah members have been indicted by the STL for the 2005 murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri. However, the Shia group strongly denies the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court. 

Now Lebanon - Russia reportedly calls for Mikati’s resignation if STL funding not secured, October 30, 2011

An-Nahar newspaper quoted a Russian official as calling for Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s resignation if his government fails to provide its annual share of funding to the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
“Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mikhail Bogdanov, told a Hezbollah delegation [last week] in Moscow that Mikati must resign if its government does not [approve] the funding of the STL,” the daily’s Sunday edition said.
The paper also reported that Russia “still has the same position regarding the tribunal and believes that the perpetrators behind the [2005] assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri should be punished.”
“Lebanon must honor its commitments to the STL…or else Moscow is confident that the UN Security Council will adopt sanctions against Lebanon,” An-Nahar added.
Hezbollah and other Syrian-backed March 8 parties and figures have spoken out against Lebanon’s ties and funding for the tribunal and called it a tool to incite sectarian strife in Lebanon, however, Mikati has repeatedly voiced Lebanon’s commitment to the tribunal.
Four Hezbollah members have been indicted by the STL for the Rafik Hariri murder. However, the Shia group strongly denies the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court. 

Now Lebanon - Siniora warns of “trouble” if Lebanon fails to provide STL funding, October 30, 2011

Future bloc leader MP Fouad Siniora on Sunday warned the government of “trouble” if it fails to provide its annual share of funding to the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
“There are some [parties] who want the Lebanese state to not fulfill [its commitments to the STL]…and this is a risk that drags the country into trouble,” Siniora said according to a statement issued by his office.
In a reference to the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition, he added that “a certain group is ordering the Lebanese government to not cooperate” with the STL.
“We must take into account Lebanon’s interests and not jeopardize its economy,” Siniora said, in a reference to warnings that the country will be sanctioned by the UN Security Council if the government does not cooperate with the tribunal.
He also called on Prime Minister Najib Mikati to articulate a clear position vis-à-vis the STL.
Commenting on Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun’s calls to “penalize corrupt state employees” – who are mainly close to the Future Movement – Siniora said that “Aoun is accusing [people] without backing himself with any proof.”
“We were and still are keen on following the path of reform…and part of the projects [submitted by our bloc] were not ratified in parliament throughout the years.”
Aoun has repeatedly campaigned against the Internal Security Forces and its Information Branch, which arrested Brigadier General Fayez Karam - a member of Aoun’s FPM - in August 2010 after suspecting him of collaborating with Israel.
Karam was later sentenced to two years in prison for leaking information to Israel.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah and other Syrian-backed March 8 parties and figures have spoken out against Lebanon’s ties and funding for the STL, which indicted four Hezbollah members for the 2005 murder of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri.
-NOW Lebanon

October 29, 2011

Naharnet - STL Victims' Participation Unit: Oct 31 Last Deadline for Applications, October 29, 2011


W460
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon Victims' Participation Unit on Friday reminded “victims of the 14 February 2005 attack that if they wish to participate in proceedings before the Tribunal in the Ayyash et al case, they must submit an application by Monday 31 October 2011.”
“This deadline was set by the Pre-Trial Judge (Daniel Fransen) in an order of 8 September 2011,” STL’s press office said in a statement.
“According to the STL's rules, victims may participate in a trial, usually through a lawyer, by making submissions, submitting evidence, and questioning witnesses, subject to the approval of the judges,” it clarified.
Victims who are unable to afford legal representation will be provided with a lawyer through the STL’s legal aid policy, it added.
“Victims wishing to apply for participation at the STL should contact the Victims' Participation Unit, which has a mandate to inform victims about their rights before the Tribunal, and to help them apply for participation.”

Naharnet - Suleiman Agrees to Withdraw Lebanese Nationalities from Individuals ‘Who Don’t Deserve it’, October 29, 2011


W460
President Michel Suleiman approved on Friday a decree to withdraw the Lebanese nationality from individuals who received it and who later turned out that they don’t deserve it, reported the daily An Nahar Saturday.
Informed sources told the daily that the number of people included in the decision does not exceed 200, adding that they are only part of the first phase of individuals whose nationalities will be withdrawn.
“Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati approved the decree after easing some reservations voiced by some official and political sides,” they said without elaboration.
The withdrawal of nationality mainly includes Palestinians and Syrians, with the first phase of withdrawals only encompassing Christians, they revealed.
The development came in light of a 2003 State Council decree, issued at the behest of the Maronite League, that agreed to reconsider the naturalization of foreigners that was signed by late President Elias Hrawi in 1994.
An Nahar reported that the president had expressed regret over signing the 1994 decree.
The State Council had said at the time that the decision to grant the nationalities to foreigners should be reconsidered because they were granted through “dishonest and unconstitutional ways.”
“The decision was not ratified until now because of great political tensions that surrounded it even though it did create an imbalance in Lebanon’s demographics because it was employed for sectarian purposes,” added the daily.
The Lebanese nationality was granted to individuals from 80 countries, with Syrians comprising the bulk of them.
An Nahar revealed that 65,734 Syrians, 2,182 Jordanians, 1,499 Iraqis, 756 Iranians, 496 Frenchmen, 155 Americans, and three Chinese nationals were granted the Lebanese nationality.
A total of 32,564 individuals’ requests were still being studied, while 14,112 individuals’ original nationalities have not been disclosed.
A total of 159,011 Muslims, 43,516 Christians, two Jews, and a Sikh were granted the nationality An Nahar added.
State Council sources told As Safir in remarks published on Saturday that the first phase of individuals whose Lebanese nationality was withdrawn mainly includes Palestinians who were given the nationality because of a mistake committed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
“They received the nationality through an unconstitutional way because the naturalization of Palestinians violates the constitution,” they added.
“The other Palestinians whose Lebanese nationality was withdrawn obtained it through false documents,” they revealed.

Daily Star - 250 Syrians registered with UNHCR last week, October 29, 2011

BEIRUT: In its latest report on the situation in north Lebanon, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees said Friday that 250 Syrians have registered with the agency over the last week.While some of these have recently arrived, others were already in Lebanon but had not yet registered, the report adds.Those that remain “are unwilling to return until stability and security is restored in their Syrian villages,” the report states.“Many individuals and families have been deeply affected by the events that caused them to flee, and are reluctant to go home until the situation stabilizes,” the report adds.

Daily Star - Kidnappers release 3 Syrians abducted during robbery attempt , October 29, 2011

BEIRUT: A day-long kidnapping of three Syrians from Beirut’s southern suburbs ended safely Friday night, when the victims said they had been taken in a robbery attempt, a security source told The Daily Star.
The three were kidnapped overnight by armed men in unlicensed four-wheel drive cars, the brother of two of the men told The Daily Star.
Idriss al-Sahn said neighbors had told him upon his return home in the southern suburb of Bir Hasan, around 7 p.m. Thursday that his two brothers – Yassin and Mustafa – along with their friend, Issa Saleh, were kidnapped just hours before by armed members who belong to a local party.
Mustafa said Yassin, 24, is a construction worker, and Mustafa, 26, an employee at a printing press.
Idriss said he was told that three black, four-wheel drive cars and a van were used by the kidnappers, who fled to an unknown destination.
Idriss, a construction worker himself, said he immediately informed both the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Army about the kidnapping.
Idriss said that when he approached Hezbollah to inquire about the kidnapping, the party members denied any knowledge.
“We’re from Hasakeh in Syria. There are no protests there,” Idriss said, adding that he and his brothers are supportive of the Syrian regime.
Idriss said their eldest brother, Adnan, headed Friday to the Syrian Embassy in Beirut to inform them of the kidnapping.
Friday evening, according to the security source, the three men turned up at a police station in the suburb of Ouzai and said that the motive for their kidnapping was robbery. The source said the three men declined to answer questions about the details of how they were taken hostage, or where they were held.
Five Syrian dissidents have been kidnapped in Lebanon since May. In February, three brothers from the Jasem family were kidnapped.

Daily Star - Hezbollah should face international court over kidnappings: Marouni, October 29, 2011

BEIRUT: Kataeb party member Elie Marouni called on Hezbollah to face an international court, accusing the party of involement in kidnappings in Lebanon.
Hezbollah should “go to an international court and face the law,” he said.
“There are people who are kidnapped and who disappear. Some of them come back, but they do not dare say where they were kept while in hostage,” said the deputy from Zahle.
On Friday, three Syrians were kidnapped from the southern suburbs of Beirut, and another was also abducted in a separate incident in the same area, security sources told The Daily Star. All four were released the same evening.
The men declined to answer any questions about the details of how they were taken hostage.
A brother of two of the kidnapped men, Idriss al-Sahn, said that when he approached Hezbollah to inquire about the kidnapping, party members denied any knowledge.
Marouni stressed that anyone found to be involved in such crimes should be convicted.

Daily Star - Sleiman revokes citizenship from 200, mainly Palestinians, October 29, 2011

BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman has issued a decree to revoke Lebanese citizenship from nearly 200 people who acquired it fraudulently, media reports said Saturday.The decree covers mainly Palestinian Christians who have been enrolled in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency program for Palestinian refugees, while at the same time holding Lebanese nationality.As-Safir newspaper reported that the holding of citizenship by Palestinians went against the Lebanese Constitution, which rejects resettlement for Palestinians.The decree was based on a decision taken by the Shura Council in 2003, An-Nahar newspaper reported.

Daily Star - 3 Syrian refugees hospitalized in Akkar, October 29, 2011

BEIRUT: Three Syrians from the border town of Qasayr are being treated in an Akkar hospital for wounds they incurred while crossing into Lebanon through an illegal border crossing, reported Lebanon’s National News Agency Saturday.One of the patients is in critical condition.Since the beginning of Syria’s popular uprising, more than 3,000 Syrians have taken refuge in Lebanon, many of them arriving through unofficial border crossings. There have been several reports of refugees being hospitalized from bullet wounds after crossing into Lebanon.

Now Lebanon - Pharaon slams Aoun, October 29, 2011

Lebanon First bloc MP Michel Pharaon said on Saturday that Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun wants, “under the protection of the cabinet to involve Lebanon in a scheme that serves his position [based] on double standards.”
Pharaon told Future News television that Aoun speaks in the issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on behalf of Hezbollah since the latter “is embarrassed because [some of its] members are indicted.”
Four Hezbollah members have been indicted by the UN-backed court in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. However, the Shia group strongly denied the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday evening that his party is against paying Lebanon’s share of funding to the STL because of the international court’s “aims, gaps and behavior.”
Aoun has repeatedly said he is against paying Lebanon’s share of STL funding.
Lebanon contributes 49 percent of the STL’s annual funding.

L'Orient le jour - Trois Syriens kidnappés puis relâchés par des hommes armés, October 29, 2011

Alors que la polémique se poursuit autour de la disparition de personnalités et d’opposants syriens au Liban, notamment Chibli Ayssami et les frères Jassem, un nouveau rapt a été rapporté dans la région de Bir Hassan, dans la banlieue sud de Beyrouth.
Les trois personnes portées disparues depuis mercredi dernier – Yassine et Moustapha Sahn, ainsi que Issa Saleh – ont été relâchées hier soir sur la route de l’aéroport avec une quatrième personne qui avait été également kidnappée la veille.
Les deux frères Sahn et leur ami Issa auraient été enlevés par un groupe armé. D’après le témoignage d’un voisin, trois véhicules 4x4 aux vitres fumées sans plaque d’immatriculation et un minibus se sont arrêtés devant le domicile des Sahn. Des hommes armés en sont sortis et se sont dirigés vers l’appartement qu’occupaient les victimes qu’ils ont ramenées avec eux les poussant à l’intérieur des véhicules qui attendaient.
En rentrant chez lui, Idriss Sahn, frère de Yassine et Moustapha, a retrouvé un papier sur lequel il était indiqué que ses frères et leur ami se trouvaient aux mains du Hezbollah. Idriss, qui assure que ses frères et Issa Saleh ne se mêlaient pas de politique et qu’ils n’étaient aucunement actifs au sein de l’opposition syrienne, s’est immédiatement rendu chez des responsables du parti chiite, qui ont formellement démenti avoir un lien quelconque avec l’affaire. Des membres du Hezbollah se sont d’ailleurs rendus chez lui pour inspecter les lieux. Alertées, les forces de l’ordre ont ouvert une enquête.
Interrogée par L’Orient-Le Jour, une source sécuritaire a affirmé que les circonstances du rapt sont encore méconnues, soulignant toutefois que les trois personnes ont été relâchées hier soir et sont actuellement interrogées par les services de sécurité.
Rappelons que les frères Jassem avaient été kidnappés il y a quelques mois par une partie inconnue, leurs parents ayant été contraints à renoncer aux poursuites après que des pressions eurent été exercées sur eux, selon les dires de leur avocat.
Chibli Assaymi, l’un des fondateurs du parti Baas, a également disparu au Chouf dans des circonstances étranges alors qu’il venait des États-Unis pour une courte visite à sa famille.


L'Orient le jour - Le BN qualifie d’illogiques les justifications officielles du rapt d’opposants syriens, October 29, 2011

Le comité exécutif du Bloc national a dénoncé hier dans un communiqué l’attitude officielle à l’égard de la disparition d’opposants syriens sur le territoire libanais et les récents incidents qui ont eu lieu à Tarchiche et à Lassa.
« Ce qui s’est passé lors de la dernière réunion de la commission parlementaire des Droits de l’homme est étonnant, surtout que les justifications officielles qui ont été données à propos de ces incidents ne relèvent d’aucune logique », note le communiqué dans lequel les membres du comité se demandent comment on peut « renoncer à une action civile engagée dans une affaire de rapt aussi claire ».
Et le texte de préciser qu’il ne s’agit pas là d’une affaire judiciaire normale ou d’un dossier politique comme certains le prétendent. « C’est une question de principe qui concerne les libertés publiques et les droits de l’homme », poursuit le communiqué qui en appelle au ministre de la Justice, le priant de « prendre une position ferme à l’égard de cette affaire dangereuse ».
Le communiqué précise par ailleurs que les incidents qui se sont succédé sur la scène libanaise depuis la poursuite des installations télécoms du Hezbollah, jusqu’aux menaces d’un nouveau 7 mai, en passant par les incidents qui ont eu lieu dans la banlieue sud tels que les mouvements de protestation suite au démantèlement par les forces de l’ordre des empiètements sur des biens-fonds à Lassa, « autant de manifestations qui sont toutes liées les unes aux autres et qui s’inscrivent dans le cadre d’une stratégie et d’une position idéologique planifiée par le Hezbollah », relève le texte.
Le BN souligne en outre que la poursuite de la détention d’armes par le parti chiite l’habilite à contrôler plusieurs aspects de la vie quotidienne. « C’est ce qui va conduire à l’avenir à une discorde », conclut le communiqué.


L'Orient le jour - Ibrahim Najjar et le voyage au bout de la fonction publique..., October 29, 2011




« Son approche m’a constamment rendu à l’évidence d’un constat, la faillite de notre classe politique, impuissante à faire face aux désordres qui nous entourent, à construire un État avec des institutions modernes. Pourtant, le miracle continue. Celui d’un Liban dans un déséquilibre stable et un “désordre établi”. Jusqu’à quand ? »
Ces quelques mots du ministre Ibrahim Najjar au sujet de son interaction avec l’écrivaine Joumana Debs Nahas, et qui ponctuent sa préface de l’ouvrage Chronique en marge d’un Tribunal, publié aux éditions L’Orient-Le Jour, résument bien le voyage initiatique que constitue cet ouvrage.
Voyage initiatique pour Ibrahim Najjar, d’abord, qui, sollicité à quitter son monde académique d’enseignant à la faculté de droit de l’Université Saint-Joseph au lendemain du 7 mai 2008 et de l’accord de Doha,

L'Orient le jour - Najjar : Un don individuel au tribunal doit impérativement être avalisé par le gouvernement, October 29, 2011




L’ancien ministre de la Justice Ibrahim Najjar a expliqué hier qu’un don individuel à titre de contribution au financement du Tribunal spécial pour le Liban a besoin d’être avalisé par le gouvernement libanais, lequel, s’il est d’accord, aurait pris la décision de contribuer au financement du TSL « par alternance ».
« Les appels lancés par d’aucuns pour que la contribution soit versée par des individus privés entrent dans le cadre des tiraillements verbaux et n’ont rien de juridique », a souligné M. Najjar à la radio.
« L’acceptation d’un don individuel pour financer le tribunal nécessite une décision du gouvernement. Si ce dernier accepte que quelqu’un paye à la place de l’État libanais, cela voudra dire que le cabinet a pris la décision de financer le TSL par alternance », a-t-il dit.
Pour M. Najjar, toute défaillance de la part du Liban dans la mise en œuvre de ses engagements internationaux entraînera des mesures de la part de la communauté internationale.


L'Orient le jour - Le TSL lance un dernier appel aux représentants des victimes avant l’échéance du lundi 31 octobre, October 29, 2011

La section de participation des victimes au sein du Tribunal spécial pour le Liban (TSL) rappelle aux représentants des victimes de l’attentat du 14 février 2005 que si elles souhaitent participer à la procédure devant le tribunal dans l’affaire Ayache et autres, elles doivent remettre leur demande au plus tard le lundi 31 octobre. Cette date limite a été fixée par le juge de la mise en état dans son ordonnance du 8 septembre 2011.
Selon le règlement de procédure et de preuve du TSL, les victimes peuvent participer à la procédure, généralement par l’intermédiaire d’un avocat, déposer des requêtes et mémoires, présenter des preuves et interroger des témoins, sous réserve de l’approbation des juges. Les victimes qui n’ont pas les moyens de payer une représentation légale se verront commettre un conseil d’office, conformément aux principes régissant l’aide juridictionnelle.
Les victimes qui souhaitent déposer une demande de participation devant le Tribunal sont invitées à contacter la section de participation des victimes, chargée de les informer de leurs droits devant le tribunal et de les aider à remplir le formulaire de demande de participation.
Par ailleurs, rappelons que la chambre de première instance tiendra une audience publique le vendredi 11 novembre aux fins d’entendre les arguments du bureau de la défense et du bureau du procureur quant à l’engagement d’une procédure par défaut. La chambre de première instance devra désormais déterminer si toutes les conditions nécessaires sont réunies pour engager une procédure par défaut tout en préservant les droits des accusés.
Le règlement de procédure et de preuve du TSL prévoit que la chambre de première instance peut se réunir avant le début du procès pout débattre de divers sujets, comme l’opportunité éventuelle d’une procédure par défaut et l’étude de questions préjudicielles.


L'Orient le jour - Réouverture du procès de Fayez Karam, October 29, 2011

La Cour de cassation militaire a décidé de faire droit aux avocats du général à la retraite Fayez Karam et de rouvrir le procès de ce dernier. La cour a ainsi cassé le jugement prononcé par le tribunal militaire permanent, qui avait condamné l’ancien officier à trois ans de prison, pour collaboration avec Israël. La séance de réouverture du procès a été fixée au 24 novembre.

October 28, 2011

Daily Star - Syrian says brothers, friend kidnapped in Beirut, October 28, 2011

BEIRUT: Three Syrians were kidnapped overnight by armed men in unlicensed four-wheel drive cars, the brother of two of the men told The Daily Star Friday.
Idriss al-Sahn said neighbors had told him upon his return home in Bir Hasan neighborhood, Beirut, around 7:00 p.m. Thursday that his two brothers – Yassin and Mustafa – along with their friend, Issa al-Saleh, were kidnapped just hours before by armed members who belong to a local party.
Mustafa said Yassin, 24, is a construction worker, and Mustafa, 26, an employee at a printing press.
Idriss said he was told that three black, four-wheel drive cars and a van were used by the kidnappers, who fled to an unknown destination.
Idriss, a construction worker himself, said he immediately informed both the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Army about the kidnapping.
He said that when he approached Hezbollah to inquire about the kidnapping, they denied any knowledge.
“We come from Al-Hasakah district in Syria. There are no protests there,” Idriss said, adding that he and his brothers are supportive of the Syrian regime.
He said their eldest brother, Adnan, headed Friday to the Syrian Embassy in Beirut to inform them of the kidnapping.
Five Syrian dissidents have been kidnapped in Lebanon since May.
In February, three brothers from the Jasem family were kidnapped. One of them had been seen a few days earlier handing out flyers calling for reform in Syria, according to Human Rights Watch.
In May, Shibli Aisamy, an 86-year-old Syrian dissident was abducted in the mountain town of Aley.
Earlier this month, Internal Security Forces head Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi said police have “dangerous information” that implicates the Syrian Embassy in the Jasem kidnappings.
He also said there were similarities between Aisamy’s kidnapping and that of the Jasem brothers.
Also Friday, a Beirut resident told The Daily Star that Syrian citizen Saleh Hamdan Mahmoud has also been reported missing earlier this month.
“His cousin who works as a janitor at my building said Mahmoud was kidnapped near Younis Café in Hamra [Beirut] the night of Oct. 7,” the resident told The Daily Star on condition of anonymity.
The Daily Star could not independently verify the claims

Daily Star - Nasrallah, Mikati to discuss STL funding: report, October 28, 2011

BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah will likely hold talks with Prime Minister Najib Mikati over the controversial issue of funding for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a local newspaper said Friday.
Al-Balad newspaper, citing sources close to Hezbollah, said the two men would also discuss administrative appointments.
The sources did not elaborate on the timing of the meeting.
“Nothing prevents the prime minister from holding such a meeting,” Mikati’s office told The Daily Star Friday.
Describing as “strong” the relationship between Mikati and Hezbollah, Mikati office said, however, that no date has been set in this regard.
A new political crisis looms in Lebanon as pressure mounts on Mikati to remain committed to his pledge to pay Lebanon’s share of funding to the U.N.-backed court probing the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly warned earlier this week that Lebanon could face “serious consequences” should it fail to pay its more than $30 million share to the STL’s funding.
Nasrallah said Monday that Hezbollah is against financing the tribunal and suggested putting the funding issue to a vote in Cabinet.
The STL has indicted four Hezbollah members in the 2005 Hariri assassination. Hezbollah denies involvement in the case and says the tribunal is part of a plot to target the resistance group.

Daily Star - Fayez Karam to be retried, October 28, 2011



BEIRUT: Retired Brig. Gen. Fayez Karam who was sentenced to prison for collaborating with Israel earlier this month will be retried, the military appeals court decided Friday.
On Sept. 14, Karam’s lawyer Rashad Slaameh appealed the sentence – two years with hard labor – and requested a retrial.
The basis for the retrial was not disclosed but a court source said that 90 percent of appeals were accepted if submitted within the legal period.
Karam, a leading figure in the Free Patriotic Movement of MP Michel Aoun, was sentenced on Sep. 4 to two years of hard labor after being convicted of collaborating with Israel by providing the intelligence agency Mossad with information about the FPM, its ally Hezbollah and meetings held between the two sides, as well as information about other Lebanese parties in return for money.
Karam, who was charged in August 2010, had his sentence reduced from three to two years hard labor by the presiding military judge. Having already served more than a year behind bars, he was left to serve the remaining 11 months.
Karam was rushed to the Military Hospital Thursday in Badaro after reportedly suffering a heart attack. However, no official statement has been released regarding his medical condition.

October 27, 2011

Iloubnan - Qortbawi inspects Justice Palace in Beirut, October 27, 2011


Justice Minister Shakeeb Qortbawi inspected on Thursday the Justice Palace in Beirut to check on the needs of the staff, the National News Agency reported. The minister, who was accompanied by senior officials from the Justice Ministry, examined all the courts and departments of the Justice Palace and listened to complains of the staff, the report added.

Naharnet - Hariri: STL Ended Era of Using Force to Impose Political Choices, October 27, 2011

Former premier Saad Hariri on Wednesday noted that “the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was established for the sake of fulfilling justice and putting an end to political assassinations in Lebanon.”
The U.N.-backed STL, probing the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, ex-PM Rafik Hariri, was also established to “put an end to the era of using force to impose political choices and employing terrorism to take revenge on political rivals,” Hariri said.
The former premier voiced his remarks before a March 14 delegation in Riyadh.
Hariri and the Lebanese delegation -- comprising March 14 MPs and politicians, Muslim clerics and economic and media figures – were in the Saudi capital to offer condolences to King Abdullah and the kingdom’s leadership over the death of crown prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz.
At a luncheon banquet he threw in the delegation’s honor at his residence in Riyadh, Hariri also stressed “the need to confront the current challenges, especially concerning the Lebanese state’s obligations towards the STL,” Hariri’s press office said in a statement.
“The assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri, similar to the other political crimes that targeted several Lebanese figures and leaders, is an issue that concerns all the Lebanese, not only a certain political or sectarian party,” Hariri told the delegation, quoted by his press office.
The former premier lauded the support offered by Saudi Arabia and its king for Lebanon, noting that “our presence here together to offer condolences over the death of crown prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz is a reflection of the depth of ties between Lebanon and the kingdom and a salutation of loyalty and respect to the soul” of the late crown prince.
World leaders, including rival Iran's foreign minister, poured into Riyadh to offer condolences on the death of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who was buried on Tuesday in the presence of an ailing King Abdullah.
Sultan died on Saturday in a New York hospital after a long battle with illness.
More than 100 world dignitaries attended the funeral in Riyadh, including Prime Minister Najib Miqati.
Miqati and Hariri came face to face on Tuesday during their condolences to King Abdullah.
Media reports said Wednesday that the two men exchanged handshakes and kisses and then the Mustaqbal movement leader invited the PM to sit next to him after he realized that Miqati’s seat was far from where King Abdullah was sitting.
The relations between the two deteriorated after Miqati accepted the proposal of the Hizbullah-led March 8 forces to lead the cabinet after they toppled Hariri’s government earlier in the year.
On Tuesday the Hariri-led Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc strongly condemned Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s latest remarks, in which he reiterated his rejection of funding the STL.
“The Lebanese and the martyrs’ families were not surprised by Hizbullah’s position … especially as the party continues to protect its members,” who are wanted by the STL on charges of being involved in the 2005 assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri, the bloc said.
In a statement issued after its weekly meeting, the bloc added that Nasrallah’s remarks on Monday have highlighted Hizbullah’s “insistence on confronting the Lebanese and preventing them from unveiling the truth, as well as on confronting the international community and engaging Lebanon in battles that would expose it to several dangerous consequences.”
The bloc also warned that Hizbullah’s stance will prompt the international community to “question Lebanon’s credibility.”

Naharnet - Report: Assad Met Nasrallah, Advised him to Fund STL, October 27, 2011

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah discussed with Syrian President Bashar Assad the stance of the Lebanese parliamentary majority from the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, al-Akhbar daily reported on Thursday.
The newspaper said that Nasrallah visited Damascus around 10 days ago. Discussions between the two men focused on the regional developments and the March 8 forces’ rejection to fund the STL.
Nasrallah and Assad have agreed to take the most appropriate decision on the issue, it said.
But according to al-Akhbar, Assad “did not mind” to fund the tribunal, saying the stability of Premier Najib Miqati’s cabinet was a priority.
His stance comes amid fears that Miqati’s government would collapse if the March 8 forces reject to pay Lebanon’s share to the STL. The PM, President Michel Suleiman and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat are in favor of funding the court.
Assad also stressed to Nasrallah that the protection of the resistance which is being targeted by Western countries is a priority, al-Akhbar said.
But the Hizbullah chief stressed to the Syrian president that his rejection to fund the STL was “a matter of principle linked to the resistance.” The court has indicted four Hizbullah members in the case of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination.
Assad then told Nasrallah that he wouldn’t want to interfere in the issue which he considered as internal, saying he would leave it for Hizbullah to take the appropriate decision, al-Akhbar said.

Naharnet - Report: Miqati Confirms to Hariri STL Funding, October 27, 2011

Prime Minister Najib Miqati confirmed to his predecessor PM Saad Hariri that he supports the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, An Nahar newspaper reported on Thursday.
“I announced it from day one, and I insist on my position,” Miqati informed Hariri on different occasions by sending him messages via different mediators, the daily said.
Miqati’s sources stressed that he will not be an “obstacle” facing the STL, which is set to try ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s suspected assassins.
They told As Safir daily that “amending the (STL’s) protocol can’t be achieved without carrying Lebanon’s commitments” towards the tribunal first.
The sources warned of abandoning the country’s international commitments, saying that if Lebanon “didn’t fund (the tribunal), Lebanon and the resistance will have to bear serious repercussions.”
“Miqati has the ability to convince those who oppose the funding by committing to it,” they told the newspaper.
However, a high-ranking parliamentary source from the March-14 led opposition told al-Mustaqbal newspaper that Miqati “will have to abide by Hizbullah’s will.”
Miqati had continuously voiced his commitment to the funding of the STL. He received at the end of September a message from U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon requesting Lebanon to pay its $33 million dues.
However, Hizbullah Chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah ruled out on Monday that his party will support the funding of the court, stating that if the cabinet failed to reach consensus on the matter, then it should be submitted to vote at the parliament.

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