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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June 25, 2015

The Daily Star - Machnouk rejects prejudice against entire ISF for torture, June 25, 2015

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said the entire Internal Security Forces institution should not bear the consequences of “individual mistakes,” adding that the torture case at the Roumieh prison was being treated by the Military Tribunal.

“This case [torture in Roumieh] is over, in my opinion, and it’s being dealt with by the Military Tribunal,” he told reporters.

“We cannot impeach a 30,000-member-strong institution, like the ISF, because of the violations committed by five members.”

Machnouk – who met a delegation of sheikhs from the Bekaa Valley who praised his “wise” handling of the torture scandal – said he was disappointed that leaked videos of guards torturing prisoners had sparked far more outrage than those showing inmates attacking guards.

“A whole campaign was made over the video showing the beating of prisoners, while nobody blinked an eye when a tape showing security officers beaten by inmates was released.”

Machnouk spoke following a meeting of Parliament’s human rights committee to discuss the issue of torture and overcrowding in Lebanese prisons after videos surfaced online showing security officers torturing inmates in Lebanon’s largest prison, Roumieh.

The committee’s head Michel Musa said the meeting highlighted the need for the Cabinet to form an “emergency committee” that would address overdue prison reforms.

This committee should be given a free hand when it comes to conducting improvements in Lebanese jails Musa said.

The board, he said, should be given the necessary backing and resources to swiftly act on the issue of torture in Lebanese prisons.

In addition to Machnouk and the committee’s members, the extraordinary meeting was attended by State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud and representatives of civil society organizations dealing with the issue of prison conditions.

Talks focused on the need to implement Article 402 of Lebanon’s Code of Criminal Procedure, which stipulates that the judiciary should inspect Lebanese prisons at least once a month.

Attendees also highlighted the need to revisit Article 401 of the code which deals with torture and the extension of sentences.

The convened also delved into the need for legal reforms that would see an increased punishment for cases of prison torture.

They underlined the need to implement a series of anti-torture laws and agreements to which Lebanon has committed itself such as the law put forth by the National Anti-Torture Commission which has been approved by parliamentary committees and is awaiting ratification from Parliament’s General Assembly.

Lebanon should also abide by and implement the recommendations of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 2000 and in 2008, the committee said.

Musa said that in order for tangible reforms to be implemented the work of the legislative and executive powers ought to be revived.

The government of Prime Minister Tammam Salam has not met since June 4, due to a dispute over security appointments.

Backed by his allies Hezbollah, the Marada Movement and the Tashnag Party, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun has said that his ministers will not allow the Cabinet to discuss any items on its agenda before first appointing his son in-law, Brig. Gen. Shamel Roukoz, to the top post of Army commander.

Meanwhile, Parliament failed to meet during its regular term between March and May due to boycott by major Christian parties in the country.

While the Kataeb Party refuses to attend any legislative session before a president is elected, the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement argued that they will only participate in a session if a new election draft law and another one allowing foreigners of Lebanese origins to acquire Lebanese nationality figured on its agenda.

In light of the boycott of the main Christian blocs, Speaker Nabih Berri refrained from convening a legislative session out of respect for the National Pact of confessional power sharing.

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