Lebanese man arrested after 'gruesome' migrant abuse video
Lebanese security forces on Wednesday announced the arrest of an individual after a video showing a man dragging and beating a migrant worker circulated on social media.
The video shows a man dragging a woman, believed to be a domestic migrant worker, by her hair as she screamed in pain, before beating her.
The Lebanese newspaper L’Orient Today reported that the video was taken in the Jourat Al-Ballut area in the Metn region east of Beirut.
#Lebanon’s restrictive & exploitative kafala system traps tens of thousands of migrant domestic workers in highly abusive conditions amounting, at worst, to modern slavery, and allows gruesome scenes like these to happen. It is sickening. #AbolishKafalahttps://t.co/mmmIKcqr0m https://t.co/yPoBmZtx9d— Aya Majzoub (@Aya_Majzoub) January 5, 2022
"We have listened to the offender’s testimony… and he was arrested," a statement from the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) said. The ISF added that they were still taking testimony from the victim.
Lebanese Labour Minister Moustafa Bayram said that an investigation had been opened into the video's content and the circumstances in which it was filmed, according to L’Orient Today.
"After watching the video that shows a savage offence against a migrant domestic worker, the minister took initiative and opened a special investigation," a statement from Bayram’s office said.
The statement warned that Bayram would "not be lenient in dealing with an offence to any person including migrant domestic workers, and will maintain their dignity and rights".
He added that the offender would be placed on a ministry "blacklist".
Human Rights Watch issued a report on Wednesday blaming Lebanon's "restrictive and exploitative" kafala (sponsorship) system for trapping "tens of thousands of migrant domestic workers in highly abusive conditions amounting, at worst, to modern slavery".
The kafala system, which exists in several other Arab countries, denies legal protections such as limits on working hours and a minimum wage to domestic workers and ties them to their employers.
These workers are not allowed to change their jobs without their employers' permission.
Aya Majzoub, a Human Rights Watch researcher, said in a tweet that the Lebanese kafala system was responsible for "gruesome scenes" like the one in the video.
“It is sickening,” she added.