Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

Lebanon: Promptly investigate torture and arbitrary detention allegations in the case of Mr. Tarek Rabaa

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 9 November 2011
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Lebanon: Promptly investigate torture and arbitrary detention allegations in the case of Mr. Tarek Rabaa, 9 November 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ec116621c.html [accessed 2 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The undersigned organizations demand an immediate, independent and thorough investigation into the alleged torture and arbitrary detention of Mr. Tarek Rabaa in Lebanon. Furthermore the undersigned organizations call on the Lebanese authorities for his immediate release, if his confession proves to have been forcibly extracted under torture.

Tarek Rabaa, a 41-years old Lebanese citizen, working as engineer at Alfa Telecom Company, was summoned to the Ministry of Defense for investigation on 12 July 2010. There, he was asked about a French phone number he received a call from, on his Lebanese mobile, while he was attending a training session in France in 2007. The Lebanese army intelligence suspected that this number belonged to a Mossad agent. It was later established by his lawyer that this number is in fact related to a transportation company that was dealing in France with the group of Lebanese trainees from the Alfa Telecom Company. Mr. Rabaa answered the questions posed to him by the Lebanese army intelligence.

Right after that, Mr. Rabaa was reportedly handcuffed and forcibly undressed. During his detention at the Ministry of Defense detention center he was allegedly tortured with electric shocks, additionally he was left standing during 20 days and slapped very severely on his ears. He was allowed to see his sister – acting as his lawyer- at first only 32 days after his arrest. According to available information, he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment for 108 days at the Ministry of Defense detention center – before being transferred to Roumieh prison, where he is still detained.

During the investigation, Mr. Rabaa refused to sign most of the documents presented to him by the Lebanese army intelligence, but his full name (not his signature) was handwritten at the bottom of the pages and then presented to the military justice as his "confession". On the basis of the above mentioned documents the military justice issued an arrest warrant on 28 July 2010, 16 days after the arrest. He was charged with collaboration with Israel under articles 274, 275 and 278 of the Lebanese criminal code.

His trial in front of the military court began on 7 February 2011 (at this session Mr. Rabaa lost consciousness and had to be taken to hospital).

His defense presented all the proofs of his innocence to the military justice and on 27 June 2011 a forensic doctor provided the military justice with a medical certificate that proves he was subjected to torture, but the military justice refused to consider it. The next session is scheduled on 12 December 2011.

If proven, the above mentioned allegations represent serious violations of the Lebanese criminal procedure code [1] and of Lebanon's international commitments [2]. In this case the undersigned organizations would consider that Mr. Rabaa is a victim of torture and arbitrary detention and should be immediately released, and the perpetrators should be held accountable and brought to justice. Victims of torture must be ensured the right to an effective remedy for the psychological and physical pain inflicted to them, as well as the right to reparation with compensation and rehabilitation.

The undersigned organization would also like to reiterate that the Military Court constitute a serious breach to fair trials as laid in International Standards and to the integrity of the judicial system. Thus, they should have no jurisdiction over civilians.

Signatories:

  1. Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH)
  2. Al Karama for Human Rights
  3. World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)
  4. ALEF – Act for human rights
  5. International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)
  6. Working Together for Human Rights (AEDH)
  7. Action by Christians Against Torture (ACAT – France)


[1] The Lebanese criminal procedure code notably provides a maximum delay of 48 hours for custody detention, the right for the suspect to remain silent and the cancellation of any confession extracted under torture.

[2] Lebanon is a state party to the International covenant on civil and political rights that notably provides the rules for a fair trial and to the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments that strictly prohibits torture.

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