| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Lebanon orders probe into torture of detained Syrians

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s prosecutor general Ghassan Oueidat ordered on Monday an investigation into the alleged torture of over 20 Syrian nationals in custody following a report by Amnesty International, state media reported.

Amnesty, in a report published last week, accused Lebanese authorities of “cruel and abusive” treatment of more than 20 Syrians it said had been tortured in jail or during interrogation.

The organization blamed in particular Lebanon’s military intelligence bureau, saying the abuse was mostly at a military intelligence center in east Lebanon’s Ablah district, the General Security bureau in Beirut or at the defense ministry.

The prosecutor called on the government representative at the military court to “launch a probe into claims made by Amnesty International with regards to the detention and torture of Syrian refugees held over terrorism-related charges”, the National News Agency reported.

In its report, Amnesty cited detainees as saying they faced some of the same torture techniques routinely used in Syrian jails.

They were hung upside down, forced into stress positions for prolonged periods and beaten with metal rods and electric cables, according to the rights group.

At least 14 of the 26 cases it reported were arrested on terrorism-related accusations made on discriminatory grounds, including political affiliation, it added.

Lebanon says it hosts 1.5 million Syrians — nearly a million of whom are registered as refugees with the United Nations.

Nine out of ten Syrians in Lebanon live in extreme poverty, according to U.N. estimates.

Lebanese authorities have systematically pressured Syrians to return even though rights groups warn Syria is not yet safe.