Amnesty International Urges Lebanon’s Political Leaders to Prevent Human Rights Abuses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2008
10:51 AM

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Amnesty International Urges Lebanon’s Political Leaders to Prevent Human Rights Abuses
 
WASHINGTON, DC - May 13 - All political leaders in Lebanon to clearly instruct their supporters to fully respect human rights and to refrain from recklessly carrying out attacks in heavily-populated areas that endanger civilians uninvolved in the clashes, Amnesty International said today.

“They must also ensure that any person within their custody is treated humanely and is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.”

Amnesty International called on the Lebanese authorities to ensure proper investigations into the killing and any other abuses of those not involved in the armed clashes that broke out last week between members of pro- and anti-government armed groups.

“Political leaders must ensure that anyone within their ranks suspected of having committed human rights abuses is handed over to proper judicial authorities to be investigated and brought to justice in full compliance with international human rights standards,” said Amnesty International.

Amnesty International is urging representatives of Arab states who are expected to hold a meeting on the situation in Beirut on Wednesday to press all parties involved to put an end to all human rights abuses and ensure that the civilian population is spared.

Background

According to official figures, at least 62 people have died and 198 have been injured in the fighting which broke out on Wednesday, May 7, in the capital Beirut, and gradually spread to other parts of the country. The fighting started when members of Hizbullah-led opposition groups clashed with pro-government forces in Beirut following government decisions to close down the group’s telecommunications network and to dismiss Beirut Airport’s head of security, who was seen as sympathetic to Hizbullah.

On Friday May 9, whilst attempting to flee the Ras al-Naba’a area in Beirut, a 60-year old woman and her 33-year old son were killed when their car was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade followed by a salvo of bullets fired by armed men. The same day, two other sons of this woman were seriously injured when they were shot in the back by a group of armed men in the al-Nwairi area in Beirut, while on their way to find out what had happened to their mother and brother.

According to news reports, two civilians were killed at a May 10 funeral procession for a killed pro-government supporter, in Tariq al-Jdide, Beirut.

On Sunday, May 10, Hizbullah said that three of its members had been kidnapped in Aley, outside Beirut, by members of the pro-government Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and that bodies of two of the men had been found. PSP leader Walid Jumblatt acknowledged that three Hizbullah men had been killed and that he would accept responsibility if reports that the men had been tortured before being killed were found to be true.

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