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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February 21, 2012

The daily Star - No life or death sentence reductions under new law: Ghanem, February 21, 2012

BEIRUT: Inmates sentenced to life in prison or to death will not benefit from a draft law that reduces prison sentences from a year to nine months, the chair of Parliament’s Justice and Administration Committee said Monday.
After a committee meeting in advance of Wednesday’s legislative session, during which Parliament is set to vote on the new penal law and a number of other issues, MP Robert Ghanem said inmates sentenced to less than one year will also have their sentences reduced.
“A prison year in general would become nine months, for those who have sentences of less than one year, every month would be counted as 20 days,” Ghanem told reporters after he chaired a meeting of lawmakers who have been working on the draft law since 2009.
“However, those who are convicted of repeating the same crime for which they had served a sentence before would also not benefit from the new penal law,” Ghanem said.
At least four prisoners were killed and nearly 10 were injured at Roumieh prison last spring when rioters in the complex confronted the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Army.
Inmates in the country’s prisons and their families have repeatedly protested against poor conditions and overcrowding, staging hunger strikes and protests. In addition to calling for the sentence reduction, prisoners, their families and activists have called for a general amnesty.
To reduce the pressure on the overcrowded Roumieh prison, Lebanon’s largest, Cabinet and Parliament have both held talks on the establishment of new prisons.
Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbel announced last week that an agreement had been reached among the Cabinet ministers on the locations of two new prisons, which are to be built in north and south Lebanon.
Ghanem said future verdicts should clearly specify whether a convict has already committed the same offense to avoid any confusion in the implementation of the new law.
“Based on Law 258 of the Penal Code, the verdict must specify whether the convict is repeating a crime,” Ghanem said.
When asked whether Parliament would approve the draft law, Ghanem said reducing the prison year to nine months is part of the new prison policy that Parliament should approve.
He added that after parliamentary approval the policy would be transferred to the Justice Ministry for implementation because the ministry was set to take over prison administration from the ISF in approximately three years.

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