Lebanon : Imminent extradition of Syrian deserter following order from Military court of Beirut

Mohamad Hassan Tlass, a former officer of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Services, was arrested by Lebanese security services on 6 December 2012. He reportedly defected from the Syrian army in August 2011 and is today facing imminent extradition to Syria following a decision issued on 4 February 2013 by the Beirut Military Court. If he is forcible returned, he risks being tortured and executed for desertion. Alkarama and the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) submitted an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture regarding his case.
Tlass reports torture; the military judge does not order any investigation

Tlass was arrested on 6 December 2012 in Tarshish, a small village 50 km east of Beirut, on accusations of having illegally entered Lebanon. He was interrogated by different branches of the Lebanese security services. Questioned in particular about the Free Syrian Army, Mr Tlass reports having been beaten on the head by his interrogators.

On 10 December 2012, he was brought before a military Prosecutor. Tlass told him that he was tortured but the prosecutor did not take any steps following his complaints. The defector was then brought to Roumieh Prison.

The military court of Beirut orders his expulsion to Syria

On 4 February 2013, Mr Tlass was brought before the military court of Beirut and sentenced to 2 months of imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 Lebanese Pounds (66USD) for having illegally entered the country. The judge ordered his expulsion to Syria after this 2 month-sentence without any consideration for the risks he might face upon return.

After already two months of custody, Mr Tlass is therefore to be expelled to his homeland where he risks torture and execution for defection. During the trial, the victim's lawyer clearly explained all the risks that the plaintiff may face if he is expelled to Syria as well as the international obligations of the Lebanese authorities, particularly those falling under the article 3 of the Convention against Torture.

Following his sentence, Mr Tlass was brought to the headquarters of the police in Zahle where he is waiting for his transfer to the detention center of the General Security forces in charge of implementing the decisions of extradition.

Deeply concerned by the serious consequences his extradition might engender, Alkarama and the CLDH submitted an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture regarding his case, calling on him to remind the Lebanese authorities of their international obligation not to expel any individual to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
For more information, please contact: 

Marie Daunay, Lebanese Center for Human Rights,   (+961) 01 24 00 23 (English, French, Arabic)

Saadeddine Shatila, Alkarama,  (+961) 01 65 31 50 (Arabic, English)

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