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Amnesty International
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER 23, 2004
12:55 PM
CONTACT: Amnesty International 
International Secretariat
Telephone +44-20-74135500
Fax number +44-20-79561157
 
Samir Gea'gea' and Jirjis al-Khouri -- Torture and Unfair Trial
 

LEBANON -- November 23 -- The leader of the banned Lebanese Forces (LF), Samir Gea'gea', and Jirjis al-Khouri, a member of the LF, have been held at the Ministry of Defence Detention Centre (MDDC) in Beirut since 1994. Both are serving life sentences for their alleged involvement in politically-motivated killings and are being held in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions, after unfair trials. Samir Gea'gea' and Jirjis al-Khouri are now the only political prisoners held following their trials at the MDDC.

In this report, Amnesty International documents human rights violations suffered by Samir Gea'gea' and Jirjis al-Khouri during their incommunicado pre-trial detention, their interrogation, their trial before the Justice Council, and their imprisonment at the MDDC. The main human rights concerns are:

  • Jirjis al-Khouri was not allowed access to lawyers during interrogations while he was held incommunicado in pre-trial detention, and was not brought promptly before a judge to review the lawfulness of his detention;
  • While held incommunicado in pre-trial detention Jirjis al-Khouri was made to believe that he was a witness, and was not informed as required by law of charges being brought against him;
  • While held incommunicado in pre-trial detention Jirjis al-Khouri was reportedly tortured and ill-treated, and the "confessions" he claimed he made under torture were subsequently accepted as the main evidence in his trial;
  • Samir Gea'gea' and Jirjis al-Khouri were unfairly tried before the Justice Council, a special court whose decisions are final and not subject to appeal and which so far has failed to investigate allegations of torture and other abuses reportedly committed during pre-trial detention;
  • Samir Gea'gea' and Jirjis al-Khouri have been held for over ten years in solitary confinement in cruel inhuman and degrading conditions, in a manner detrimental to their physical and mental health.

Samir Gea'gea' and Jirjis al-Khouri, like scores of other LF members, may have been victims of human rights violations committed in a climate of political repression and intimidation. Amnesty International is concerned that there is no apparent prospect of these two long term political prisoners being retried by the Justice Council. The organization is, therefore, calling for Samir Gea’gea’ and Jirjis al-Khouri to be released or promptly retried, before an ordinary and independent criminal court, in proceedings that conform with international fair trial standards, and for the allegations of torture and ill-treatment to be investigated. Over the last ten years the Lebanese authorities have ignored calls by Amnesty International and other human rights groups for the injustice visited upon the two men, including unfair trial, lack of pre-trial guarantees and allegations of torture in incommunicado detention, to be rectified.

Read the full report -- http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE180032004.

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