Lebanese army 'electrocuted' protesters detained in south Lebanon, lawyers say

Lebanese army 'electrocuted' protesters detained in south Lebanon, lawyers say
The Lebanese army intelligence is torturing protesters arrested in the country with beatings and electrocution, a group of lawyers claim.
2 min read
03 May, 2020
The military code of justice prohibits 'insulting' the army [AFP]
Protesters detained in south Lebanon were allegedly electrocuted by army intelligence, defence lawyers said in a statement released early on Sunday.

The committee of lawyers who defend the rights of protesters in Lebanon pro-bono said six detainees, including a minor, were released in Sidon, after being subjected to torture following their arrest over protests earlier in the week.

A lawyer from the committee met up with the detainees after they were moved from the army intelligence branch to the military police in Sidon, the statement said.

The majority of detainees were allegedly denied contact with family and lawyers since their arrest, in addition to being tortured. 

"Some of the detainees confirmed that they were subjected to beatings and torture by the intelligence branch through various means, especially via electrocution," the lawyers said.

Upon their release, some detainees had to be hospitalised to receive treatment.

Read more: Lebanese army kills protester in Tripoli amid deteriorating economic woes

At least one person is still detained by Sidon’s army intelligence, the committee said, urging security agencies to refrain from all acts of torture, forced disappearance and respect the full rights of detainees.

Protests re-kindled last month, with hundreds taking to the streets as Lebanon grapples with the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

In a statement on Friday, Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCR), expressed concerns over recent violent escalations during protests in Lebanon.

The statement said both the army and protesters used tear gas and engaged in violence, leading to injuries on both sides.

"We have also received reports of instances of use-of-force violations by the LAF [Lebanese Army Forces]," Colville wrote.

According to social media posts of detainees, some were allegedly threatened by the army to refrain from speaking out after their release, or face retaliation.

Public criticism and insults targeting the Lebanese army, including those posted on social media, are punishable by law in Lebanon, leading to regular crackdowns carried out by security forces against journalists and activists.

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